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

from the fix: is aa too religious for gen x?

This is a valid question if one doesn’t kill too many brain cells pondering the issue searching for a resolution. It’s also the typical dumb-ass, pro-The Fix, anti-AA title to an article that finds yet another source of flaws within this organization. I guess I should go on record with my concern being that people who genuinely struggle with drug/alcohol abuse ultimately just get help. 

On the mental health counseling blog Practically Sane, family therapist Jeffrey Munn states: “I like to take a practical approach … I’m not a fan of the ‘fluff’ and flowery language that is often associated with the world of psychology and self-help.” He can say that now.

So… Jeffrey came into the rooms at 20, stayed sober for a whopping 2 ½ years, relapsed, came back and is now 13 years clean and sober vis-à-vis psychotherapy. I’m actually okay with that. I mean, I’m not okay with him going back out; that was actually pretty lame. Unfortunately, those who go back out are the ones who refuse to take their recovery seriously to begin with. It doesn’t matter if someone has gone 2.5 or 12.5 years; there’s a reason they walked into the rooms to begin with.

The saga continues. “I was mandated to three 12-step meetings per week to stay in the program I was in,” according to Jeffery. And here I just want to throw in my two cents about all the folks the courts send our way. I’m sure this is a good thing to some degree. We don’t have room in the jails downtown. So, send them to us for 30 to 60 meetings to be initialed each time they’re here. In a perfect world, they’d stay with us after their sentence had been duly served. Reality check: These people who are mandated to be here do not want to be here. We are a huge freaking inconvenience.  

There’s a lot more to follow up on so take a few minutes over that next cup of coffee and head over here to check it out. 

from new hope for dry bones: the good tree

Joy and I have an oak tree in our backyard her father planted back in the early 90’s. It’s really nice and leafy now in all the right times, but there were a few years when we really wondered if we were actually going to lose the tree. Every spring when the leaves came on, they were dark in color and somewhat curled, and remained that way through the season.

It took a few years, but the tree finally seems to have healed itself. Looks great now. I’m still a bit concerned. I think it drops more branches than it should, but the only other trees we have are oaks, so I’ve nothing to accurately compare it to. Still, my overall impression it has moved on with its life.

So… this ongoing was the first thing that crossed my coffee-challenged mind when I read Mike Ridenour’s grace-filled, deeply personal, way to close to home post from New Hope for Dry Bones this morning. I pretty much compare my own life to the oak in our backyard. Yup, looks great on the outside, but if one looks just a little bit closer…

The trees around my house all look pretty much the same right now.  They stand naked and sway back and forth in the icy wind that is blowing through a great deal of the country.

Hopefully, when springtime arrives, buds will appear that grow into clusters of green leaves that whisper when the wind weaves its way through them.

Sadly, one of those trees will look just like it does now, minus being frozen to the core.

One of those trees didn’t last past the first few weeks after we planted it.  It was a beauty, too.  I dug that hole in the ground, placed that tree in it, watered it faithfully and the fruit of my labor was a dead tree. Continue reading

repost from new hope for dry bones: a few words about 5%

Mike Ridenour at New Hope for Dry Bones posts a delightful, intentional, heartfelt perspective on not getting overwhelmed. This is just plain good stuff, which is why I’m why I’m posting the whole thing with a read more tag, which is sorta like turning the page if you were reading, you know… a book. But who does that anymore, anyway? Just sayin’.  But I digress. Read the following piece. It’s so much about where we find ourselves.  And what we can do if we choose to.

Days come around when everything is a mess.  The bills can’t be paid.  My clothes are looking ratty and two sizes too small.  My kids seem to have lost their minds.  My wife seems to have lost her mind.  I have definitely lost my mind.

The lawn mower won’t start.  I can’t find a hammer.  I can’t remember where I put my keys.  My shoe strings are tied in knots.

A piece of siding has blown off the house and settled in “Who Knows Where, Missouri”.  There’s a wet spot on the ceiling and the garage door opener isn’t working.

I’m out of milk.  I’m out of coffee.  The microwave is on the fritz (people should say that more, fritz is hilarious), the oven doesn’t seem to ever get to the temperature I set it for and the fridge is about as cold as a summer day in St. Louis.

There are days like that and then, everything goes wrong!

By the time bedtime rolls around, my mind is full of solutions that are impossible, detours that are impassable and budgets that are improbable.

Yep, there are days like that.

I don’t like days like that. Continue reading

repost from don’t drink and don’t die: spiritual axiom (page 90 12 and 12)

From Lydia (whom I profoundly respect despite her impressive character defects) at Don’t Drink and Don’t Die comes a deeply reflective consideration: How our desire for serenity is a reflection of our intention for recovery.

I’m sure most of us are familiar with this, uh… bondage of self for which the 12 and 12 is setting a context: “It is a spiritual axiom that every time we are disturbed, no matter what the cause, there is something wrong with us.”  Lydia starts off by simply putting everything on a very personal level:

When there’s something wrong with me, there’s something wrong with me.

This idea has been a linchpin of my sobriety, something absolutely vital.  The Twelve and Twelve goes on to explain that even when I’m all right, and the other person or circumstance is completely wrong, I still need to get over it and find serenity in order to practice the program and live well.

. . .

… This spiritual axiom (which means, by the way, something that is true) appears in Step 10 and is meant as part of the spot check inventory taken when daily events cause negative emotions.  

This is just  tempting bits and pieces. Please go read the whole excellent piece.

repost from follow the bread crumbs: twelve steps under attack

Okay, here’s a delightfully and very informative post from follow the bread crumbs on maintaining perspectives on the Twelve Steps program when we hear or read what “wisdom” others may have to offer about how we restore our lives.

Read the entire thing.

Follow the Bread Crumbs

I didn’t really start coming “out” about my life of recovery until the last year or so (which was at almost seven years sober). It’s not that I was purposely trying to hide anything, but I guess I wanted to get some time under my belt and allow people to make their mind up about me before knowing my past. I think that now that I have established the type of person that I am, I have a lot more confidence in telling people that I am in recovery. In fact, it has now become a blog, an Instagram, and a Twitter…who would have ever thought?

While I didn’t really know what to expect when I started on my “recover out loud” journey, one thing for sure has been a HUGE surprise; there are a ton of people out there that are very much against Twelve Step programs. Some simply…

View original post 1,853 more words

repost: dharmaholic — friends and lovers pt 2

The five “action” points in Mike’s following blog post are at once provocative and so chewy they’re almost grisly… but in a good way. Lots to ponder in each point, but one I kept being drawn back to was an insight the Australian Buddhist seemed to casually ponder as an afterthought:

There is work for me to do around grief and trauma and Dad and Mum but it has to lead me to think more broadly about the consequences of relationships of all types. Sometimes we never get to say goodbye.

A significant part of my own healing was being called home to care for my 90-year-old cancer-ridden father for several weeks before he died back in 2007. Even though much of the profound turmoil between us ended  well before Joy and I moved far away from them back in 1989, I had always carried the unspoken burden of unspoken, unresolved issues going back to my teens.

As you have likely guessed, Dad died without my having the long-sought luxury of leveling the playing field I imagined we had been on all those years. It was 1:30 a.m. in the middle of a warm San Diego September night. I was drinking yet another beer, holding his hand while patiently sitting next to the hospice bed he had been inhabiting for weeks on end. And he just… quietly slipped away. With a very tranquil look on his face. I sat there for 10 minutes still holding his hand, looking at him resting peacefully, and finally said, “Well, Dad. That is so like you to beat last call.”

It was on the flight back to Indy that God nudged me to let me know my healing was in caring for my father; my healing was in feeding and bathing and cleaning up after him, keeping him comfortable and simply being present to him. It was God’s place to level my anticipated playing field. That became a much more profound truth for me in 2010 when I sobered up in A.A.

Anyway, read the second of three installments from dharmaholic. The first one is here.

repost: reinventing ourselves

Chew on this for a minute:

Working the 12 Steps is a huge lunge down the path of self-discovery. Our supports in recovery can help us there, as can our relationship with our higher power. It doesn’t matter Who or What our H. P. may be.  What’s important is that we recognize that we can’t do these things alone.

Now go read the whole thing from Bill at What…Me Sober? for the big picture.

What...Me Sober?

by Bill

Addicts and alcoholics don’t usually like new and unknown things, unless they’re new forms of acting out. We tend to view them with alarm, because they often interfere with our using. Thus, to addicts of all kinds, change equals bad news, until proven otherwise. We don’t like new ways of doing things, or new ways of relating to life and other people. We find the status quo comfortable; we know how to handle it. Even in the frequent cases where things aren’t going the way we’d like, at least they’re familiar. We hate feeling as though we’re out of control — of ourselves, other people, our lives, our ability to get our fix. We hate change, unless it brings some kind of thrill that we’re already anticipating.  We want to get our lives just right, and then have them welded.

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two days

There are two days in every week about which we should not worry, two days which should be kept free from fear and apprehension.

One of these days is Yesterday with all its mistakes and cares, its faults and blunders, its aches and pains.

Yesterday has passed forever beyond our control. All the money in the world cannot bring back Yesterday.

We cannot undo a single act we performed; we cannot erase a single word we said. Yesterday is gone forever.

The other day we should not worry about is Tomorrow with all its possible adversities, its burdens, its large promise and its poor performance; Tomorrow is also beyond our immediate control.

Tomorrow’s sun will rise, either in splendor or behind a mask of clouds, but it will rise. Until it does, we have no stake in Tomorrow, for it is yet to be born.

This leaves only one day, Today. Any person can fight the battle of just one day.
It is when you and I add the burdens of those two awful eternities Yesterday and Tomorrow that we break down.

It is not the experience of Today that drives a person mad, it is the remorse or bitterness of something which happened Yesterday and the dread of what Tomorrow may bring.

Let us, therefore, Live but one day at a time.

— Unknown

repost: the more i know, the less i believe

Succinctly written post from Paul W at 12 the Hard Way on the difference between truth and reality:

. . . these pillars of truth that I constructed . . . were hard reminders that everything’s stacked against me, that things will never go my way, and that there’s a secret society of people bent on destroying me from within. They’re called friends and family.  There’s an elaborate underground network of all the people in my life, and they’re all making sure that I’m kept in the dark, and that what’s really going on is never known to me.  On bad days I assume that the program’s in on it too.

Indeed. Read the whole thing.