Feb 17

Loneliness and Despair Found in that Bitter Morass of Self-Pity

“How dark it is before the dawn!  In reality that was the beginning of my last debauch.  I was soon to be catapulted into what I like to call the fourth dimension of existence.  I was to know happiness, peace, and usefullness, in a way of life that is incredibly more wonderful as time passes.” – p.8  AA BB

 

this is how i used to start my blogs off…with excerpts from our recovery literature…it describes the problems we have as alcoholics and addicts…and it also explains solutions and directions on recovery, and a new way of life…for the longest time i thought that selfishness was outlined in the chapter How It Works…where it talks about the Third Step and leads into instructions on how to go about making a personal inventory…but, i have been reading into the beginning of the book alot lately…selfishness is mentioned in the first few chapter of the book, as well…in the Doctors Opinion…Bills Story…There is a Solution…so much is this issue talked about…no wonder it is labeled as the ‘root of our troubles’…now that i have quit drinking and using again…now that the obsession and desire has been lifted from me…i’m seeing so many other problems that plague my being…quitting getting loaded is just the beginning of this new life of mine…a more important demonstration lies before me in my respective home, occupation and affairs.

 

“Thus was I convinced that God is concerned with us humans when we want Him enough…I humbly offered myself to God, as I then understood Him, to do with me as He would.  I placed myself unreservedly under His care and direction.  I admitted for the first time that of myself I was nothing; that without Him I was lost.  I ruthlessly faced my sins and became willing  to have my new-found Friend take them away, root and branch.  I had not had a drink since.”  – p.12-13 AA BB

 

the first hundred members of Alcoholics Anonymous were low-bottom drunks…something else i have noticed this time in sobriety is that alot of us come into the program broken…facing a laundry list of baggage, we see no way of combatting these problems alone…faced with such a tumultuous life we havent any trouble admitting the principle of Step One into our life 100%…i have to take this First Step every day…i understand that i have lost the power to control my drinking and drug use…my friends could not get me sober…my wife couldn’t…my folks…probation officer…people in the program…at church…it easily became evident to me that quitting getting high was humanly impossible for an alcoholic and drug addict like me

 

moving on to the 2nd Step was harder…being an agnostic, it was alot to ask of me…but, i had a sponsor that walked me through this, and gave me an opportunity to develop my own conception of a Higher Power, no matter how basic and simple it might be…for me this meant finding something that i could see, touch and feel…so, i looked into nature…i admired the birds with colorful feathers and innate song…plants that boor fruit and nuts i could eat, adorned with designs and bright colors…flowers that bloomed, centered with pollen that insects such as bees consumed…it all seemed like such an intricate design…nothing that a Big Bang theory could have produced on accident…large bodies in the universe colliding with one another…it all appeared too specific than that…like they were created and placed on this planet for a purpose

 

as low-bottom drunks and addicts we become as willing as the dying can be to take a new direction in our life…for me this meant discarding my old ideas and replacing them with new instructions from those that have gone on before me…placing the powerlessness and unmanageability first, this doesn’t seem like a novel idea for one who feels as doomed as i have…placing my thoughts, feelings and motives under the care of those that have overcome the same difficulties as me has placed me in a position to be more acceptable of the things to come

 

“I was to test my thinking by the new God-consciousness within.  Common sense would thus become uncommon sense.  I was to sit quietly when in doubt, asking only for direction and strength to meet my prolems as He would have me.  Never was I to pray for myself, except as my requests bore on my usefullness to others.  Then only might i expect to recieve.  But that would be in great measure.” – p.13 AA BB

 

placed in this kind of care, i have found a way out of the life i have incorrectly built for myself…no longer looking to the drink and drug for answers to the problems of my being, i spend quiet time alone asking my HP for help…today i see that i have other issues besides getting loaded…there are ideas that compact in my mind that lead to the insane idea of getting high to quiet them…these are all manifestations of self…since i haven’t the power alone to combat booze and dope, i look to a Higher Power for help in this…asking Him to remove these horrible thoughts and feelings from my mind, i then resolutely look for direction in helping those i can…any decisions i think must be made in my life, i run by those that care and love me the most…those that understand my inability to face life alone sober…those that look after my own well-being…alone i cannot do it…i look to others for the help

 

Oliver V.

Feb 17

The Face of Collapse and Despair…

it’s been a while since I have logged on here…about six months, to be exact…alot has happened to me in this time…i am just now getting back to logging in and cleaning up this page some…i have really missed being a part of the online recovery world and devoting my time to this page…for almost six years HMR meant alot to me…for those of you that are new friends to Half Measures, it started over at Myspace as a blog-conversation starter…it grew from there, once I had it moved to Facebook…i ran into an old friend of mine in the program, who was very interested in online recovery radio programming…Rum Radio and I grouped together and started our own shows, which was a success…money problems came my way, and i had to drop the show for awhile, but it was picked back up eventually…i even started a website for HMR that highlighted the blog material and players for certain episodes of the radio show…i was even interested in phone apps at this time, and created one for the website

 

all that changed on August 6th, 2013…i am an avid skateboarder and had bought a longboard for downhilling in my neighborhood…i do not remember the day at all, but my sons were with me…we had ridden down a steep hill in my neighborhood…in the sharpest hill of the road, i gained about 30 mph…a vehicle came up sharply from around the corner…this forced me to turn quickly, going around it…i was thrown off my board and slammed my head into the pavement…not wearing a helmet, this cracked my skull, shaking the brain around in my head, causing me to bleed profusely from the injury…the vehicle i had gone around to avoid impact took off quickly, after seeing what had happend…my two sons immediately ran to houses, knocking on doors to call an ambulance…luckily another car came and saw my body laying there, and they were able to dial 911 for help

 

i thank God from the bottom of my heart that my boys were with me that day…had they not of been, i wouldn’t be alive today…the accident put me in the hospital for a month…for ten days the doctors had placed me in a coma…my wife knows alot more about this time…it is all very foggy for me…i can only remember the last week i spent in the hospital…and that isn’t very clear for me

 

once out of the hospital, i spent most time at home…there were therapies i had to attend…i also continued making AA meetings…but, my brain was not right…alot of memory loss, strange thought processes, and intense emotional displacements had me into a different person…immediately i picked up the drink…this was also something that had changed…two bottles of beer put me into a black-out…my drinking had gotten worse from the accident…alcoholism is a chronic illness, but also a progressive disease…the neurologist told me that alcohol could cause me siezures, and ultimately end in my death…but, i continued to drink anyway

 

on October 24th i went to a restaraunt after the AA meeting and drank two margaritas…immediately i was sent into a black-out…when i came to, i was in jail…spending a few days there, i was bonded out from payment by my folks…the arrest affidavit listed from video footage that i had ran a red light and parked in a lot, sitting in the backseat with the car running…music playing…headlights flashing…windshield wipers flapping…i was arrested for DWI after failing the drug test…i have been sober since

 

things have changed quite a bit since then…i still have court to attend for the charges…but, i have returned to the 12-step program with my sponsor and others that have known me for a long time in sobriety…i am starting back from day one as a newcomer…my brain injury still causes me problems, but the neurologist has given me help through testing and medication…i have returned to work last week, part-time for now…my life is slowly returning to normal…and i have thought some of what it was like before the accident…i wonder if i wouldn’t have eventually returned to the drink, had i not had the brain injury…i was very active in the program…service work…sponsoring others…treasurer of my home group…running this page and the radio show about recovery

 

yet, i had lost certain key elements of sobriety for alcoholics and drug addicts in the program…i wasn’t honest with my sponsor about what was going on in my life…i had returned to playing God and making decisions on my own…my life was full of many responsibilities…today i have had to begin all over again…i’m starting life all over…because my head has changed drastically, i’ve begun slowly, introducing activities in at an easy pace…there is scarring on my frontal lobes, which has caused all the mental and physical problems i have…but, my neurologist says that will return to normal in time…the scarring will be there forever, but my brain will send it’s signals around it and return to normal activity in time

 

i’ve decided to return to this page…but, at a slow pace…i think starting over like i had in the beginning of July 2008 is the best idea…i will blog occasionally, when i have something about my sobriety to share with my friends here…the radio program is not something i am ready for…i do want to eventually get the website back up and running again…this will take some time…i have so many other things in my life right now that i have to attend to keep in good shape…keeping a conscious contact with my Higher Power is key…letting those in my life who are closest to me know what is going on is also a big factor…i have lost the power in controlling my drinking and drug abuse…my life has become unmanageable…making decisions is something i must reside in talking to others about…my selfishness and self-centerdness is the root of these troubles…my time must be spent on how i can be of service and help to others

 

thank you so much for reading and being a part of Half Measures Room…i am so glad to be back at this…please bear with me and feel free to comment below about what you may have experience, strength and hope with what i have shared…this is how HMR started in the beginning…and i am now back to that place once again…i love you all and hope that your life in sobriety is better than anything it was before, when you were drinking and using drugs…i will talk to you again soon

 

Oliver V.

Apr 23

exception to the rule

“Despite all we can say, many who are real alcoholics are not going to believe they are in that class.  By every form of self-deception and experimentation, they will try to prove themselves exceptions to the rule, therefore nonalcoholic.”  AA BB  p.31

this passage has been on my mind for the past several weeks…and i think i’m beginning to understand why…i have been specifically at this place before in sobriety, many times…this is not my first attempt at getting and staying clean…everytime i have returned to the drink or drug, it has always began with the casual thought of, “well, maybe i’m not alcoholic after all…why not try some controlled drinking”…the experiment goes so well, that i try it again…and again…and again…and the next thing you know, i’m drinking every day, all day, and every chance i can get…like i’ve said before in the rooms, if i could drink normally, i would drink all the damn time…or, if there were a pill i could take that cured alcoholism, i would smoke it…or crush it up and snort it…that’s just the kind of dope fiend, drunkard that i am…i am the real thing…and there is no way of turning an alcoholic into a normal drinker

sadly, however, self-knowledge is not enough to keep me away from the drink and drug…drugs and alcohol are not my only problems…i have many other pressing issues…in fact, alcohol and drugs cease to be a problem for me today, simply because i do not use them anymore…although, if i do not keep up with my spiritual program of action, drugs and alcohol will once again become my only solution…and i don’t ever want to revisit that place again…i never want that to be my only option…because, i only have two:  drink and drug, or accept spiritual help…and that is not always an easy alternative to face

and that is where i am at today, folks…i am at that crossroads…if i am to be brutally honest with you (and i believe you deserve that), i must say that in this period of time, i am the furthest away from God as i have been since i first walked back into the rooms on December 3rd, 2007…i feel void…lost…and empty…in fact, there are only two areas of my life that i am feeling really good about right now…every thing else is mediocre…i feel fake…phoney…i have many obligations, but cannot seem to live up to them, right now…i am hanging on by a thread…i am at the end of my rope…i am at the jujmping-off place…something has to go…i don’t have room for anything else…i must make more room for God in order to be filled back up

at five years sober, this is the longest i have ever stayed sober…i thought i would have had my shit together by now…but, i’m falling apart…i regret going to my home group to chair meetings, because i know i have nothing to offer the newcomer…i regurgitate old stories…old experiences…because i have no new ones…there is no passion in my speech…in my life…no hope…no strength…in our literature it talks about staying spiritually fit to survive the certain low-spots ahead…well, i’m very spiritually sick and at a pretty low spot in my life currently…i have everything i could possibly want…everything seems to be going great, on the outside…but, on the inside, i am weak…i need restructuring, badly…so, it’s time to keep it simple…i’ve complicated my life…and that is one of the most wonderful things about our way of life and spiritual program…i can start over anytime i need to, without getting loaded

so rather too little, than too late…this will be the last time you hear from me for a while…Half Measures Room will be going on an indefinite hiatus…no more radio show…no more blog…at least for the time being…this is not to say i will never pick it back up again…i will keep the facebook profile live…the website will still be here…the phone app…the blogtalkradio.com site…all of it will still be here…just inactive until i can again muster the energy and vibrance that something like this deserves…i cannot transmit something that i haven’t got…and right now, i need to work on number one…rather that deliver a product that is less than desirable, i would like to gracefully bow out until i can present something of greater quality…when i do return it will be with a fresh perspective…new experience…and positive, solution-based messages that speak to the hearts and minds of those who relate…i love doing HMR, but the time has come for me to move on and move forward

thank you all for listening and supporting me over the past several years…this has been one of the brightest spots of my sober life…i will occasionally check in on facebook, so feel free to message me there…or, you can always reach me at oliver@halfmeasuresroom.com via email…i will never be too far from this page, facebook, or even blogtalkradio.com…there are still some very good sober radio shows out there to listen and take part in…CoolAAStuff…RumRadio…i will post up some links here for those who want to check it out…God bless you and keep you on your own spiritual journey through sobriety…again, i appreciate you being my friend and understanding my current position

Oliver V.

Rum Radio

coolaastuff

Apr 23

Spiritual Healing and Recovery with Rabbi Mitch

Episode #64:  “Modern, passionate, independent, and dedicated”…Rabbi Mitch is a “Spiritual Counseling Professional with a proven track record of work with culturally diverse populations including both individuals and groups.”  He is also a devoted sober blogger sharing his own experience, strength and hope of clean living and spirituality.  In this episode we talk with Mitch about sobriety and his own spiritual journey.

Listen to internet radio with halfmeasuresroom on Blog Talk Radio

Feb 06

awakened pleasurable echoes and anticipation

“A searching and fearless look at our complete drinking record shows that in the last years and months our drinking never created those perfect, magic moments again, no matter how often we tried for them. Instead, over and over, we wound up drinking more than that, and landed in some kind of trouble as a result. Maybe it was simply inner discontent, a sneaky feeling that we were drinking too much, but sometimes it was marital squabbles, job problems, serious illness or accidents, or legal or financial worries.

“Therefore, when the suggestion of ‘a drink’ comes to us, we now try to remember the whole train of consequences of starting with just ‘a drink’. We think the drink all the way through, down to our last miserable drunk and hangover.” p. 51 AA Living Sober

something we hear routinely in meetings is ‘playing the tape all the way through’, or remembering what it was really like…too many people that choose to go back to the drink and drug only recall the good times, or how good it felt to get relief from the first beer, joint, or line of coke…how easily we forget what drove us to the rooms in the first place…we have a selective memory when it comes to our disease…it’s the cunning, baffling nature of the illness…in the face of calamity and self-destruction, we do an about-face and pick up right where we left off…the disease of alcoholism and drug addiction is a chronic and progressive one…we get worse and never better…once an alcoholic/addict always a addict/alcoholic

i know for me, when thoughts of drinking or getting high enter my head, i start to think about those last couple of months before coming to the program…how i used to hide my use…drinking and driving to get away with it…the lying to cover up my use…the fear that gripped me when cops would follow me…the terror i experienced when i came to the next morning to find the house empty…did my wife finally have enough and leave?…what did i say or do this time?…i couldn’t rightly remember

something else that occurs to me when that ‘stinking thinking’ enters my head is what life would really be like if i picked up again…for starters, i would no longer be able to maintain this page…i couldn’t rightly blog about sobriety anymore if i were using…what about all the readers i would let down?…then there are the friends i have in the program…the guys i talk to on a daily-weekly basis…i wouldn’t be able to hang out with them anymore…my whole life would change…my wife and i would instantly have a new relationship…it would ruin and alter everything my life has become over the past 3 and half years

there are so many good reasons for me to stay sober today…i have oppurtunities to be a good father, employee, husband and friend…these relationships were not only difficult before getting clean, but cumbersome as well…i get to live in a beautiful home today and have open and honest partnerships with wonderful people…i get to have responsiblities, like raising children, keeping an orderly home and filling roles in business and school…before, when i was drunk and high, i could barely stay conscious to watch a movie, play a video game, or read a book…most times i passed out, wondering what i had just seen or heard the night before…i missed out on so much…today i have the capacity and ability to be present in the world…this is the fundamental fact i consider when faced with the proposition of picking up again…is it really worth it to throw this life away?…i don’t think so…not to mention the horrible feelings of failure i would experience after coming to and realizing i had thrown all that clean time away…it is so hard to come back from that

 

Feb 06

Punk Friends in Recovery

Episode #57:  On tonights special show we speak with Jeff R., creator of PFIR and sober social media pioneer.  In June of 2008 HMR was created, inspired by Jeff’s work.  Edgy…unapologetic…brash…ugly…honest…and real.  PFIR is not afraid to show and share the stark realities of drug addiction and alcoholism.  In this episode we hear Jeff’s story and share ESH with 12 step recovery.

Listen to internet radio with halfmeasuresroom on Blog Talk Radio

Jan 30

Everything Anonymous

“Though our decision (the Third Step) was a vital and crucial step, it could have little permanent effect unless at once followed by a strenuous effort to face, and to be rid of, the things in ourselves which had been blocking us. Our liquor was but a symptom. So we had to get down to causes and conditions.”   AA BB .64

had a discussion in the chat box with a friend of ours a few days ago…she voiced a problem deciding whether or not she should switch Fellowship from AA to NA…being a drug addict (and not much of a drinker) she asked what i thought…i encouraged her to follow her own concious and reminded her that symantics aside, it’s the stepwork that is vitally important to our recovery, not the meeting itself…i find the Fellowship i am most comfortable with personally, is the one for me…in either Fellowship, we practice the same principles…alcohol and/or drugs are only mentioned once in the Steps themselves…and only in the First Step, when we admit our lack of power over them

i am poly-addicted myself, and would qualify for either Fellowship…i have attended both meetings before, but are sure to identify/qualify myself as an addict in NA meetings, or an alcoholic in AA meetings…i’m careful not to confuse the two…for if i share about my addiction to say Exctacy in Alcoholics Anonymous, i stand a good chance of not relating to a newcomer drunk who just walked in the door…same goes for Narcotics Anonymous…i do not go on and on about my drinking when i share there…to tell the truth, i try my best not to drunk or drug log at all in meetings…everyone there already knows how to loaded…why should i be reminding them?

switching gears for a second, i got really angry at work yesterday…things just didn’t go as planned, and i ended up having to stay overnight out of town, unexpectedly…it pissed me off for a number of reasons, and i was just hot by the time i left the job site…driving down the road in the direction of the hotel, i called a buddy of mine i had met in San Antonio a couple of months ago…”Man, i am in a pissy mood…was thinking of hitting a meeting…you going to one today?”…actually, he was at the group already and told me to come on over, that there was a meeting starting within the hour

by the time i got there, i had settled down considerably…during the meeting, i reflected some…i realized that back in the day, i would have stopped at the nearest convenient store and bought a beer…popping that top, i would have drained half that can with an exasperating “aaaaaahhh” in relief…i also realized that normal people CAN do that…i have lost that luxury today…i can’t drink or drug normally…i have lost the ability…normal people, when they get upset and say they ‘need’ that beer or joint, it stops there…not with someone like me

that’s just how i coped with things, by using…didn’t really matter what it was either…it’s just how i dealt with life…when things became bothersome, or i felt helpless, frustrated, irritated, angry, sad, fearful…any range of emotions…especially when to celebrate or some horrible tragedy occured…that was always the answer for me…sometimes out of sheer boredom i would get high, just because…after using like that for awhile, i depended upon the chemicals to make me feel better…then the addiction took over, and i got loaded to overcome the cravings…the uncomfortableness…the sick feelings in my stomach, head, and nerves…by then, it was too late…i couldn’t stop

that’s what sobriety is about for me today…going through life and actually experiencing it…i heard it said best in the meeting i went to last night…apparently an old-timer of the group had just passed…quite a few people shared about being there for him in his last days…this man had been battling cancer, and they were saying that although they knew he was in a great deal of pain, he didn’t complain once…he just walked through it and took it…he died sober, in a room full of sober friends and family who loved him…he didn’t do it alone…and that’s what it’s kind of like for me…i can get angry, lonely, tired, confused, sad, whatever…and i have to walk through it and take it…but, i don’t have to do it alone…and i don’t have to get high…i don’t want to anymore…and i have God, friends in the program, and family to support me and walk through it

Jan 30

The Jumping-Off Place

Episode #56:  We in the program who do our best to carry the message and put ourselves out there for the next suffering addict/alcoholic know what it is. What can be done for someone who is on the proverbial fence?  Why is it that some get this thing, and others fail miserably for years?  How is it that certain people never have to return to the drink or drug, and yet others die from this disease?  These issues/questions are especially hard on the family and loved ones.

Listen to internet radio with halfmeasuresroom on Blog Talk Radio

Jan 21

Recovery Connections w/Joseph D.

Episode #56:  Instigate, Agitate, Educate, and Liberate!  Joseph D’s “mission is to unite organizations,support groups, and everyone else who needs a helping hand.”  His blogs offer a interesting look into the impact that drug and alcohol addiction have on our society.  In this episode we speak with Joseph and explore the many different topics he has attacked through his efforts to carry the message of sobriety over the internet.

Listen to internet radio with halfmeasuresroom on Blog Talk Radio

Jan 10

readjustment of the family attitude

“Cessation of drinking is but the first step away from a highly strained, abnormal condition. A doctor said to us, ‘Years of living with an alcoholic is almost sure to make any wife or child neurotic. The entire family is, to some extent, ill.’ Let families realize, as they start their journey, that all will not be fair weather. Each in his own turn may be footsore and may struggle. There will be alluring shortcuts and by-paths down wish they may wander and lose their way.”   AA BB p. 122-123

one of the most important phrases, i believe, in this book is the one that talks about elimination of drinking being only a beginning…a much more important demonstration lies before us in our respective homes, occupations, and affairs…early sobriety is difficult for most…as a matter of fact, i can’t think of one person i have met and know that thought it was a breeze…much baggage and damage has been caused and accumulated over years of destruction and neglect…the extreme selfishness we allow to run our lives calls for much inattention to those that mostly need us and want us beside them…however, abusing alcohol and drugs demanded most (if not all) of our quality time…and the time we did spare for our loved ones was lacking in quality

i remember very clearly my first couple months without drinking and drugging…i was still emotionally vacant…the emotions i did display were still very abrasive and conflicting…i wanted my family to be patient with me as i assured them i would get better…i knew it wouldn’t be an overnight matter…for some reason, i expected everyone else around me to change as i did…but in most cases, that did not happen…families can become just as sick as the alcoholic/addict…just because we have decided to stop does not erase years of abuse and wondering if we are ever going to get it together…it takes time and repitition to build trust in those we have broken

for me personally, i am so grateful i have the oppurtunity to remain a father to my 5 year old daughter…although i practically single-handedly ruined my marriage (i’m not gonna take all the credit here…lol), i still have a vibrant and productive relationship with my child…it is one of the brightest spots in my life…and i am so thankful she may have been too young to remember just how bad i had gotten…although i am sure she has some recollection of unhappy scenes between her mother and I…another fact of my life that i am truly grateful for, as far as family goes, is that i have somewhat mended the relationship with my ex-wife…although our relationship has altered, we get along much better now that we only have our daughter to focus on…but, i still have to prove on a weekly basis that i am trustworthy, responsible and selfless enough to care for her and be a good parent…and it all began with not drinking and using drugs…without sobriety first, i would never have been able to be in their lives as i am today

so, things may change between our families and us, once we begin the process of recovery…but, no matter where this new life takes us, we can be assured that it will be infinitely better than anything we could have planned or created on our own…the way of life as we had been living it would surely mean disastor…we have a chance today to participate in the world and life as we know it…it’s all in the role we play that our Higher Power assigns us…if we perform that work well, many hard times and tough situation will come to pass…things may change, but most surely for the better…if the former life did not work for us and others, a new arrangement may be in order to continue on like we are

 

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