Monthly Archives: January 2018

from recovery 102: happiness isn’t something i actually “hate” per se

From Robert Crisp at recovery 102 comes a truly splendid way to close out the first month 2018.

I have an idea where my inability to feel happiness (or joy or whatever positive emotion you can think of) comes from. It’s wrapped up in my childhood and my home. I accept that. Certain things happened that changed my emotional trajectory, and I have my own brain chemistry to thank for clinical depression and other issues. I’m learning, very slowly, to recognize joy and not run from it. I laugh more easily. I’m not as jittery around overwhelmingly positive, energetic people.

“I’m not as jittery around overwhelmingly positive, energetic people.” That one reached out from my screen and smacked me right across the face. Really?? Man, I would love to be where Robert Crisp is right now. I say that because I understand the italicized emphasis in “…not as jittery…” draws attention to the fact this is a work in progress. For that, I think it’s important to be in the presence of overwhelmingly positive, energetic people whenever I can handle it. They are certainly part of my healing.

That being said, such people still tend to drive me straight up the freaking wall unless I have some sort of advance warning [“Danger, Will Robinson! Fiercely compelling, dynamic young lady at the snack bar!”] so I can brace myself. I can assure you at the end of the day Mr. Crisp is quite correct. The key, of course, is to simply keep working the program. It’s pretty much all we have at this point anyway, isn’t it?

daily reflection: our common welfare comes first

The unity of Alcoholics Anonymous is the most cherished quality our Society has. . . . We stay whole, or A.A. dies.

— TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 129

Our Traditions are key elements in the ego deflation process necessary to achieve and maintain sobriety in Alcoholics Anonymous. The First Tradition reminds me not to take credit, or authority, for my recovery. Placing our common welfare first reminds me not to become a healer in this program; I am still one of the patients. Self-effacing elders built the ward. Without it, I doubt I would be alive. Without the group, few alcoholics would recover.

The active role in the renewed surrender of will enables me to step aside from the need to dominate, the desire for recognition, both of which played so great a part in my active alcoholism. Deferring my personal desires for the greater good of group growth contributes toward A.A. unity that is central to all recovery. It helps me to remember that the whole is greater than the sum of all its parts.

daily reflection: freedom from . . . freedom to

We are going to know a new freedom. . . .

ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 83

Freedom for me is both freedom from and freedom to. The first freedom I enjoy is freedom from the slavery of alcohol. What a relief! Then I begin to experience freedom from fear—fear of people, of economic insecurity, of commitment, of failure, of rejection. Then I begin to enjoy the freedom to—freedom to choose sobriety for today, freedom to be myself, freedom to express my opinion, to experience peace of mind, to love and be loved, and freedom to grow spiritually. But how can I achieve these freedoms? The Big Book clearly says that before I am halfway through making amends, I will begin to know a “new” freedom; not the old freedom of doing what I pleased, without regard to others, but the new freedom that allows fulfillment of the promises in my life. What a joy to be free!

From the book Daily Reflections
Copyright © 1990 by Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.

daily reflection: the joy of sharing

Life will take on new meaning. To watch people recover, to see them help others, to watch loneliness vanish, to see a fellowship grow up about you, to have a host of friends—this is an experience you must not miss. We know you will not want to miss it. Frequent contact with newcomers and with each other is the bright spot of our lives.

ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 89

To know that each newcomer with whom I share has the opportunity to experience the relief that I have found in this Fellowship fills me with joy and gratitude. I feel that all the things described in A.A. will come to pass for them, as they have for me if they seize the opportunity and embrace the program fully.

From the book Daily Reflections
Copyright © 1990 by Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.

daily reflection: freedom from guilt

Where other people were concerned, we had to drop the word “blame” from our speech and thought.

— TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 47

When I become willing to accept my own powerlessness, I begin to realize that blaming myself for all the trouble in my life can be an ego trip back into hopelessness. Asking for help and listening deeply to the messages inherent in the Steps and Traditions of the program make it possible to change those attitudes which delay my recovery. Before joining A.A., I had such a desire for approval from people in powerful positions that I was willing to sacrifice myself, and others, to gain a foothold in the world. I invariably came to grief. In the program, I find true friends who love, understand, and care to help me learn the truth about myself. With the help of the Twelve Steps, I am able to build a better life, free of guilt and the need for self-justification.

From the book Daily Reflections
Copyright © 1990 by Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.

daily reflection: rigorous honesty

Who wishes to be rigorously honest and tolerant? Who wants to confess his faults to another and make restitution for harm done? Who cares anything about a Higher Power, let alone meditation and prayer? Who wants to sacrifice time and energy in trying to carry A.A.’s message to the next sufferer? No, the average alcoholic, self-centered in the extreme, doesn’t care about this prospect — unless he has to do these things in order to stay alive himself.

TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 24

I am an alcoholic. If I drink I will die. My, what power, energy, and emotion this simple statement generates in me! But it’s really all I need to know for today. Am I willing to stay alive today? Am I willing to stay sober today? Am I willing to ask for help and am I willing to be a help to another suffering alcoholic today? Have I discovered the fatal nature of my situation? What must I do, today, to stay sober?

From the book Daily Reflections
Copyright © 1990 by Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.

i hate it when the good die young

but i hate it even more when they die unnecessarily.

Guinevere at guineveregetssober.com revisits the death of rocker Tom Petty, whose mid-tour death last fall left the music industry stunned and fans broken-hearted. To say the least, I was amazed and just a little angered when I finished reading her post and pondering things.

The Los Angeles medical examiner today announced autopsy results for Tom Petty, who was found dead last fall: it was found that he died of a heart attack caused by an accidental drug overdose. His body had traces of three different kinds of fentanyl—which seems to be ubiquitous in ODs involving opioids, particularly heroin, these days, and which was prescribed to Petty for pain—and also oxycodone (the drug in OxyContin) as well as two different benzodiazepines (Xanax and Restoril).

As they used to say when I was a kid: Enough drugs to kill a horse. 

And a doctor (or doctors) prescribed them all.

Nobody is innocent here but read the whole thing.