Episode #45: What can we do for a friend that has returned to active addiction/alcoholism? How can we get a family member to see the same terrible destructiveness we witness taking their lives from them? What can be done for a sponsee that has stalled in their program, or is resting on their laurels? We will discuss these scenario’s and hopefully provide some answers to similair problems in this episode.
when experiencing trouble and strife without answers to problems, i make sure to approach my sponsor for some solution…after listening to my woe’s for a minute, he will nod his head in agreement, acknowledging his own likeness…then asks questions of what i’m doing presently to maintain my sobriety…and i’ve realized that the tools i use …View full post
attendance at Beginner’s meetings has been my favorite at the group…i always want to remember what it took in order for me to stay sober when coming into the program…and I never want to forget how bad it was out there that caused me to come in the first place…so many motto’s on the walls …View full post
being a part from has become an issue for me again, lately…that’s the good thing in keeping contacts on my phone…a close friend in the program text me, saying he hadn’t seen me in awhile…asking if i’d like to go to a meeting with him soon…it’s a part of my life that has been missing…i’ve …View full post
click links below to purchase copy of bookView full post
“Your man has probably been trying to conceal a number of scrapes, perhaps pretty messy ones. They may be disgusting. You may be at a loss to understand how such a seemingly above-board chap could be so involved. But these scrapes can generally be charged, no matter how bad, to the abnormal action of alcohol on his mind. When drinking, or getting over a bout, an alcoholic, sometimes the model of honesty when normal, will do incredible things. Afterward, his revulsion will be terrible. Nearly always, these antics indicate nothing more than temporary conditions.” p. 140-141 AA BB
this passage comes from the chapter titled ‘To Employers’ from the AA Big Book…i know i have always tried to keep from bringing my work home with me, and keeping home life away from work…however, when i was drinking that was an impossibility…my personal life always seemed to affect my work because things were much out of control and in disarray there
i have also put myself in great danger at work, due to my drinking…before coming to the program i could never hold a job…i spoke about this briefly in another blog recently…then, in my first period of sobriety i held a job at a grocery store…i started off night stocking and was quickly moved to manage the dairy department…i did so well there, they moved me to daytime grocery…my responsibilities included stocking end caps and answering customer questions…i also stocked the beer cooler and wine case…i wasn’t much of a wine drinker…and even picking up the cardboard cases of beer didn’t bother me much…but, i wasn’t comfortable at all putting my hands around those ice cold 40 oz. bottles of malt liquor…that was a little too close for comfort…so i had to tell my boss about it…i told him i wasn’t comfortable with it because i was recovering from alcoholism…he understood and moved me to produce where i became assistant manager
some may feel it’s none of their employer’s business what their personal life is like…and i can understand that…but, when my personal problems start affecting my work, i have to keep my sobriety first…like when i came back in this time…i had been kicked out of the house by my ex-wife…my current job is in construction…it is acceptable for me to walk in with a hangover, and i did that most mornings…hat pulled down low, head down, walking straight to the coffee maker…it wasn’t any secret…most of the guys knew what was going on…and they often laughed at me
that particular morning i had taken my supervisor aside…i told him what was going on…and to my consternation, i began sobbing to him…it wasn’t my most professional moment…i had let my emotions take over…i told him of my drinking and how that had led to my problems at home…i told him how it was affecting my work performance…and it was obviously no secret to him…he knew i was losing interest and that i hated coming to work most days…lo and behold, he was in the program…he asked me if i knew where the meeting was…he even offered to give me his Big Book…then he gave me the day off to get to a meeting and straighten things out at home
i will be forever grateful for that man giving me his time and consideration…even though we were in a professional setting, he listened to me…i imagine it was because i am a valuable worker and he was willing to do whatever he could to improve my situation so that i could restore my working relationship with the company…to this day i don’t keep it a secret that i don’t drink, when it comes to work…i am not broadcasting it, reforming people, or being an evangelist about it…however, i am open and honest with people…and i like to keep that door open for any opportunity to be of service to someone with the same problem
a guy i used to drink with at work had run into some trouble with the law…he had hit a deer one night drinking in the work truck on the way home…damaged the front end pretty good…then he got a DWI in his personal vehicle and was restricted to an occupational license only…his doctor had told him to quit drinking for his health…all of this came to a head, and today he hasn’t had a drink in over 8 months…this guy used to be a real asshole when drinking…i couldn’t stand working with him…now he is quite pleasant, happy, and easy-going…it is a pleasure to work around him, and i like seeing that smile on his face all the time…we often talk about sobriety, although he is not in the program…he is reaping the benefits of not drinking…and it shows through his work
i consider myself a fairly low bottom drunk…but i always felt i was pretty functional…taking another look and examining my life, i found that alcoholism and drug addiction affected every single area of my life…when i wasn’t drinking i was miserable…and that showed when i was at work…so, i drank every chance i could, even if i was on the clock…that put me in a very precarious position…i am lucky to be employed by the same company today…and i am grateful that they understand my problem and that there is a solution i have found for it
Episode #43: Many of us had visions of grandeur and wore the beer goggles throughout our life. The delusion that we could wrest satisfaction and happiness out of this life only if we managed well kept us restrained to an existance of disappointment, irritability and belligerent denial. Some of us carry this gross character defect well into sobriety. Alot of us experience this type of emotional, mental and spiritual relapse. How can we get from under? How do we tap into that unsuspected inner resource that so many in the fellowship identify with as a Higher Power, or God? Tonights show we are talking about finding faith, losing it and finding it all over again.
“Let no alcoholic say he cannot recover unless he has his family back. This just isn’t so. In some cases the wife will never come back for one reason or another. Remind the prospect that his recovery is not dependent upon people. It is dependent upon his relationship with God. We have seen men get well whose families have not returned at all. We have seen others slip when the family came back too soon.” p. 99-100 AA BB
mostly all of us experienced relationship problems when first attempting sobriety…the disease of alcoholism/drug addiction affects all whose lives touch the sufferers…it is not respective of women, children, elders, or peers…some of us were lucky to have a few friends left…i know for me, i burnt many a bridge in my drinking…some held on, hoping against hope i would one day get it under control…others bailed at the first oppurtunity, not wanting to participate in my sickness and destruction…some pleaded with me and stood by my side, thinking i would stop for them…others ended up giving in, and drank and drugged right beside me
enablers are those that allow us to continue our use and abuse of drugs and alcohol…they may not know it, but they are signing our own death warrant…they give us money, when we ask for help on the rent…not knowing, or not wanting to know what we were really spending it on…they let us crash out on their couch for a night or two, only to later wonder why we weren’t really trying to find a job, or help ourselves…we stole from them…we lied to them…we manipulated them and broke their trust over and over…yet, they stayed…they remained fearful that we would one day die, and they wouldn’t be there to ‘save’ us
the fact of the matter is, people like us are ‘usavable’…no amount of human power can protect us or save our soul…that power must come from a God of our personal understanding…we put God first in our lives and the rest falls back into place…relationships should be the last thing on our minds when we decide to quit drinking and drugging…a lot of couples arrive at our doors, looking to sober up…they drank together…they drugged together…the stole and lied together…they were partners in crime
unfortunately, these couples are much like the using buddies we ran with…aside from the booze and dope, they rarely have anything else in common…although they got loaded together, they should sober up seperately…each must work on themselves first, before they can be of any use to each other…sometimes that means seperation…other times it may mean divorce…it doesn’t always have to end up that way…if both parties are serious about starting a new life, and abandon themselves to the work, relations can be mended…although, this partnerships must be on different terms because the old way of living together wasn’t working
if anyone is feeling threatened at home, or constantly under the temptation to use, because of a family member or spouse, i recommend removal from the situation…i have heard of the other person coming to their senses, once the loss is realized, looking for sobriety themselves…other times it has been a blessing in disquise…i wasn’t thrilled about the seperation from my ex-wife at 2 months sobriety…in hindsight, it was probably one of the best things that could have happened to me…i’m not so sure i would be sober today, had she not have asked me to leave and divorced me…the only thing i regret is putting my daughter through all that…she is one of the unsuspecting victims of my past poor behavior and decision making…it is my utmost responsiblity to be the best dad i know how to be and help her walk through a time that may not make a lot of sense to her
Show #41: Alot has been said about closed-mindedness and unwillingness to accept a spiritual program of action. Many of us walk into the rooms expecting some sort of miracle cure, not a treatment of a spiritual nature. Some of us have heard about the fellowship and want little or nothing to do with it. Finally, beat into a state of reasonableness, we became teachable out of desperation. Tonight we talk about prejudice in the program and the rejection of spiritual ideals.
“Many who used to begin the day with an eye-opener in the bathroom now head for coffee in the kitchen. Some of us shifted the order of things we did to prepare for the day, such as eating before bathing and dressing, or vice versa. A change in brands of toothpaste and mouthwash (be careful about the alcohol content!) gave us a fresh, different taste to start out with. We tried a little excercise or a few quiet moments of contemplation or meditation before plunging into the day.
“Many of us also learned to try a new route when we first left the house in the morning, not passing by a familiar watering hole. some have switched from the car to a train, from the subway to a bicycle, from a bus to walking. Other joined a different car pool.” Living Sober booklet…p. 20
i really like this booklet…it has so much practical, useful advice for the newcomer that is not mentioned in the main text…alot of us don’t know what to do with ourselves once we stop getting loaded…boredom can easily set in and the simple, normal, and everyday actions we’ve always taken can sometimes be a trigger setting off cravings or obsessive thought
it can be as simple as walking into a convenience store…i know for me, it was exceptionally hard to walk past that freshly iced bucket of tall boys on my way back to the soda cooler…even just grabbing the handle on the door to pull my coke out brought back old feelings…just getting off work was dangerous and scary for me in early sobriety…i had to learn ways to combat the old practices and develop new habits
something i like to instill in sponsees early on is coming up with a plan of action for the day…whether that means planning the night before, or waking up and thinking of how to approach the day…it was vitally important for me to be accountable and have certain places to go, certain people to meet, at certain times of the day…leaving any spare time for me to mull around and decide what to do with myself was like playing with fire…the more time i had to sit around and think was leaving more time for the sick thoughts to fill up my head
staying busy and focused on the tasks at hand were (and still are!) essential for early recovery…calling my sponsor every day…getting to the meeting…emptying the dishwasher and taking out the trash at home…keeping literature handy (i still keep a Grapevine in the work truck for emergencies!)…stopping by a family members house and seeing if they have anything that needs tending to…anything to keep our minds off the drink or drug
Episode #40: We were alone when drinking. Alone when using drugs. We wanted to be left alone. And after we sobered up, we even felt lonely in a room full of people. Never were we able to fill that God-sized whole in our heart. Tonight we talk about one of the bedevilments of our disease…loneliness. How do we combat it? What are some methods we use to feel a part of, and not a part from?
before we are halfway through making our amends in Step Nine, we are promised, no matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience will benefit others…and when we take the Third Step and offer our will and lives over to God, we pray, remove my difficulties so that victory over them will bear witness to those that we help of Thy Love, They Power, and Thy Way of Life.
this is important for me to remember, for that is my true purpose as a survivor of this disease…it is my mission to practice these principles in all my affairs and help others achieve sobriety…i have a responsibility to share and pass on the message i have received to others…it is my job as a member in this organization to impart what i have absorbed from others that have gone before me…i must remain willing to give what has been freely given to me
just as i crawled into the rooms and were dragged through the muck until able to walk upon my own two feet…once able to stand and walk on my own, i must reach back to assist the man behind who is reaching for an outstretched hands…no matter what calamity or hardship i am currently facing, i should never remain unwilling to step outside myself to help another suffering alcoholic/addict…not having the power to control many factors of my life, still i must look to the little differences i can make…it causes the problems i have to seem that much more insignificant
once more, i cannot stress how important it is to remain willing to be of service…i have opportunities every day to be there for someone, do something out of nothing else but the sincere desire to be helpful, and to avoid contemplation and morbid reflection…when life becomes troublesome, i work the harder into helping others…we must hang together or die separately…and if i have nothing to transmit, there are so many other things i can do to be of service…just listening to someone…calling to check on another member who is experiencing difficulty…taking someone to a meeting…welcoming the new person…so many possibilities
what have you to contribute today?
Episode #39: bath salts…K-2…salvia…inhalants…perscription drugs…OTC’s…marijuana…alcohol…It’s all the same. Any substance that alters our perception or changes our mood is a drug. Most people will the disease of addiction can grow dependent on anything. All of these substances can be dangerous and even deadly if abused and used other than it’s intended use. Some of these substances are manufactured for the exclusive purpose of getting loaded. Designer drugs and synthetic drugs are some of the most dangerous substances on the planet. In this episode we talk about a threat that is quickly spreading across this nation and the world. Call in to offer your own experience, strength and hope with this subject.
“When we first begin to enjoy relief from our addiction, we run the risk of assuming control of our lives again. We forget the agony and pain we have known. Our disease controlled our lives when we were using. It is ready and waiting to take over again. We quickly forget that all our past efforts at controlling our lives failed.” p.48 NA text
i can absolutely relate to this passage…although i find it amusing when we personify our disease (i.e…’my disease is doing push-ups in the parking lot’), it does serve a purpose…seeing as the problem centers in my mind…that selfishness is the root of my troubles…and that only God can remove the selfishness…it is easy for me to return to that former sick thinking, if i am not seeking God currently
someone shared in the meeting over the weekend a part of the AA literature that made me think…i find myself turning to the dictionary half as much as i turn to the literature…it is important for me today to understand exactly what i am reading…there are times where i think i know what i am reading, and what it means…searching for the definition of words in question have brought up interesting results
“What we really have is a daily reprieve contingent on the maintenance of our spiritual condition.” p. 85 AA BB
this is the passage that was referred to…i used to think it meant that we are released from our disease daily, and that depended upon how we maintained the condition of our spirit…then i looked up the definition for ‘reprieve’…it means temporary relief…’contingent’ means having a chance, or that something may possibly happen
so, along those lines, i read it as saying “what we really have is a chance for temporary relief if our spiritual condition is maintained”
to tie everything into the passage at the beginning of this blog, i must continue the work outlined in the steps if i am to remain recovered from this disease…problems will arise…character flaws will crop up, when i am not handling them appropriately (or differently than before)…keeping a conscious contact with my Higher Power is key to this…for i had abandoned all power for the drink and the drug when i became alcoholic/addicted…so now, i have to depend upon an outside source to control my life, since my life has become out of control
if not daily, than hourly…sometimes by the minute, if need be…i simply will not return to sanity as long as i place dependence upon other things ahead of my dependence upon God…i consider this disease a mental illness in which only a psychic change will conquer…the 12 steps are treatment for the spiritual malady…once the illness of my spirit is treated, i straighten out mentally and physically…if the mental obsession for control returns, i am without defense against the first drink or drug…once taking booze or dope into my system, the phenomenon of physical craving returns…therefore the problem is healing my mind
this new life is truly a gift…it was given to me by those whom had discovered it…it was given to them (i believe) through God’s grace…to remain thankful, prudent and humble is the only way for me to keep this precious gift…it has to be taken care of our i will lose it…i have a opportunity to find that peace and serenity today…under the haze and misdirection of active addiction, i haven’t the chance