in case you didn’t know, being sober is the easy part

Actually, yes. At least, this has been my experience on numerous occasions throughout my life. It was a genuine encouragement to come across someone who actually agrees with me on this point, though limetwiste at Moderately Sober had no way of knowing this when she wrote spake as much a whopping 51 days into her journey.

I’m very encouraged by this New Zealand soul, who is wonderfully honest at a time when many others simply value the image of recovery over recovery itself. Check this:

Being sober is the easy part. The decision to become sober was difficult. Finding what to do next and how to do it is the struggle. More the “how” really.

. . .

. . . I am finding more peace with dropping perfection, guilt, paranoia, and regret. These things I dropped before becoming sober. Anxiety is still with me but in a much weaker form. Depression is with me too but I recognise it, accept it and have learnt to live with it better. Fear is still with me. Fear is holding me back. I know this. I recognise this. I aim to challenge myself and make the fear smaller or contained. First though comes care. I need better care before I can face fear.

So… she offered that up at 51 days sober. Go read the rest. Lots of good stuff there.

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.

rachael wurzman on how social isolation leads to relapse

What do Tourette syndrome, heroin addiction, and social media obsession all have in common? They converge in an area of the brain called the striatum, says neuroscientist Rachel Wurzman — and this critical discovery could reshape our understanding of the opioid crisis. Sharing insights from her research, Wurzman shows how social isolation contributes to relapse and overdose rates and reveals how meaningful human connection could offer a potentially powerful source of recovery.

for radio friendly users: rock and recovery

Just to set the stage, here’s a fantastic 1985 blasto from the past: Little Steven Van Zandt and an incredible crowd of folks in a memorable song/vid to protest the former Apartheid Policy of South Africa. Keep your eyes out for Bruce Springsteen, Clarence Clemons, Joey Ramone (RIP), Bonnie Raitt, Lou Reed (RIP), Peter Gabriel, Nelson Mandela (RIP), Bono, Herbie Hancock, Jackson Browne… the list goes on and on. Check it out:

Go on. You know you want to watch the whole thing.

Here’s something really worth paying attention to: WAPS-FM is an Akron, OH radio station that specifically reaches out to people experiencing addiction, trauma and mental health issues. Centered in the the birthplace of Alcoholics Anonymous and the modern recovery movement – Rock and Recovery™ mixes music with stories and resources that will inspire and offer strength and hope to support each individual recovery journey

Rock and Recovery™ weaves “information capsules” – personal stories, anecdotes and real-time, modern intervention strategies – from professional health-care providers, recovering addicts and their families, artists, awesome musicians like Little Steven Van Zandt (Bruce Springsteen), Richie Furay (Poco, Buffalo Springfield), Graham Nash (Hollies, CSNY), Jorma Kaukonan (Jefferson Airplane, Hot Tuna), and James Young (Styx).

Listen for the ultra-personal My Recovery Rocks sound bytes and Rock and Recovery™ Minutes on air and online, and download the app here for full live interviews, through Recovery Talks! In addition to the dedicated streaming audio website and mobile app, the site also offers a fast-growing and active social media community on Facebook and Twitter. Of course, that means I’d have to actually be on Facebook — you know, have an account — and of course, I’d rather stick rusted forks in both my eyes than go back on fb. However, Twitter’s an okay thing, I think, and this site’s stuff goes to my own page there just as it’s posted here.

So… there we be. Rock and Recovery™ is a good place to settle in for a bit. Check it out and see how it works for you.

has seasonal affective disorder, um… got you down?

It’s that magic time of the year in this part of the magical forest. Despite the incredibly mild — some would say, ‘non-existent’ — winter wonderland we’ve managed to enjoy so far this season, today marks the first truly ‘winter-like’ day we’ve had in Central Indiana since, oh… last year. Really.

I guess the strongest indicator was the temperature high today was an Arctic 24 degrees F  with snow flurries all day long. So it’s worth noting that along with the onset of genuine winter weather comes something even more grim that has a profound, bleak impact on those it overwhelms. I am, of course, referring to a form of depression known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

Back in the eighties, SAD was officially recognized and categorized as a form of depression with an annual recurrence, a condition far more debilitating than your average “winter blues.” Today SAD is considered a diagnosable (and insurable) disorder. Treatment ranges from psychotherapy to antidepressants to light therapy — large boxes that look like tanning beds filled with lightbulbs for your face.

So… all that to say this: Victoria B. at 800 recovery hub blog has a brief, easy to read, but nevertheless superb overview of four steps to challenge and control SAD. Now that we are actually heading into winter, it pays to be equipped to deal with the Old Man with everything we have to bring to the table. So go read it. You’ll be more content that you did.

 

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…

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article from thefix: setting boundaries in sobriety

From author and researcher Victor Yocco at thefix comes an excellent article on setting boundaries, something that few, if any, addicts tend to really have much of a grasp on.

People with addiction issues are not used to setting boundaries, especially when those boundaries involve behaviors we have reinforced for years.

I spent years violating boundaries as a drunk. Particularly when it came to relationships. Piss me off and I’d become belligerent. Let me drink all night and I’d throw up on your carpet. Invite me to a party and I’ll embarrass you in front of your friends. Weddings? Absolutely! Sign me up as the drunkest attendee. For drunks, the people who let us violate their boundaries are the ones we come back to over and over again.

Ah… but sobriety really turns things upside down… or rightside up, I guess is the case. Yocco does a solid job of presenting his own decisions in going sober, and boundary-setting issues with the girlfriend who became his wife. 

Good article with some solid insights. And it ends well. So got check it out. 

repost from alcoholfree2016: perfectionism

I really appreciate the post from alcoholfree2016 on the self-defeating belief that moral or spiritual perfection /pərˈfekSHəˌnizəm/ is somehow attainable in our lifetime… if we simply strive for it. Fortunately, she pops that balloon rather quickly:

‘Perfectionism’ doesn’t mean that you are , or even think you can be, perfect. It means you beat yourself up when you are NOT perfect.

Which given that no-one is perfect, you can always do better, and the range of tasks and things one needs to do every day is so vast …. it means beating yourself up about everything, every single day.

Go read the who thing, of course. And she has a very helpful chart there on how the unrealistic desire for perfection easily leads to depression. So go. Now.

repost from functioningguzzler: it’s not magic, but being sober sure feels like it

Simply put, this is a repost — an amazing repost — from one of my favorite bloggers from across the Pond. As I type this on my Toshiba laptop, functioningguzzler is observing her 11th month sober, and she wrote a straight-from-the-heart, honest post noting for each sober month “eleven reasons why being sober really does feel like magic.”

So… I’m just going to tease with the first two reasons, because I know these are more than enough to swing on by her awesome site for the other nine. Seriously, how could you not?

  1. LIFE – Living under the hazy cloud of being an alcoholic isn’t living, I was just turning up and going through the motions with very little feeling involved.
  2. FEELINGS – The GOOD & the BAD emotions, I’m feeling them both now and sadly it’s impossible to have one without the other but that’s okay because I am dealing with them and no longer burying them.

Honestly, from my 8-years-9-months of sobriety, I had sorta forgotten what a lot of that felt like. Best of all, though, functioningguzzler has included in her list “the things that ARE better and things that I am working on to be better.”

Most excellent reading. We are all on this healing journey together.