Sep 09

fearless admission

a friend of ours suggested this as a blog topic…and to tell you the truth, i had to look it up in the dictionary to get a clear, concise definition…i really did not know how to put it into my own words…all i can think of is the root word and it’s relation to humiliation…a word of which i know quite a bit about…i have repeatedly humiliated myself throughout my life…and the toughest part of humiliation for me has always been admitting what had been done…i have tried on many occasions to block said absurd behaviors and actions out of my mind…have tried to deny them up and down…it is uncomfortable when i become embarrassed or ashamed of something i have done…i don’t like myself…i feel vulnerable and awkward…naked

this is not humility…and i knew that…when i think of humility, i think of being ‘right-sized’…and that’s what the process of the twelve-steps and repeatedly practicing the principles in the program do for me…it is a learning and un-learning process…it is a repeated tearing down of the ego…a constant investigation to discover the truth about myself…a channel and pathway that ultimately leads me into a relationship with a power greater than myself…and getting rid of self is entirely impossible without God’s aid

in my own words, i suppose humility is coming to the conclusion that i haven’t all the answers…that i am faulty and human, just like the rest of the world…simply because i cannot handle my liquor, does not really make me that much different from my fellows…it’s just my natural desire to get loaded when confronted with life issues…i have a way out today…i can depend upon my creator…and i trust that He will disclose more to me as long as i continue to seek His guidance…thus is the relationship with my sponsor and God

“A.A. experience has taught we cannot live alone with our pressing problems and the character defects which cause or aggravate them.  If we have swept the searchlight of Step Four back and forth over our careers, and it has revealed in stark relief those experiences we’d rather not remember, if we have come to know how wrong thinking and action have hurt us and others, then the need to quit living by ourselves with those tormenting ghosts of yesterday gets more urgent an ever.  We have to talk to somebody about them.”  p. 55  12 & 12

Aug 22

Trauma and the 12 Steps

Episode #48:   We have a special guest tonight.  Author Jamie M. will stop by to discuss a book she has written outlining 12 step solutions to trauma.  We will be reading excerpts from this book, asking Jamie some questions and taking calls from anyone else who would like to know about this publication.  We at HMR are excited to bring this person on the show to plug what she is doing to carry the message of 12 step recovery in the world.

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Aug 22

learning how to live

no quote today…wanted to share something i learned in school this last week…i’m taking this Health and Wellness class…it defines health as the state of a persons physiological being…wellness is the optimum position a persons health can be in…it also mentioned six dimensions of health, which i would like to share with you…i believe it relates to recovery, sobriety and the Twelve Step program

one dimension is physical…it is vitally important that we take care of our bodies, once quitting drugs and alcohol…years of neglect, abuse and excess can destroy not only brain cells, but other vital functions of our bodies…alcoholics risk suffering from cirrosis of the liver, and wet brain…intraveinious drug users risk contracting a number of deadly diseases, such as AIDS and Hepatitis…i know for me personally, i am more than likely experiencing developments of an ulcer…i have been in the hospital twice over the past couple of years for extreme cramping in my abdominal area…the first time, my large intestine had collapsed on itself, which required surgery to correct it…a couple of months ago, i returned, experiencing the same type of pain…fortunately, it corrected itself…the doctor told me a couple of different things could cause this to happen…one is stomach cancer, the other is an ulcer…i suspect the amount of pills i used to ingest cause an ulcer, or the beginnings of one…today, i have to watch what i eat and drink…avoiding caffiene and spicy foods

some other dimensions mentioned in my reading for school are mental and emotional…we are pretty much crazy when we come in to the rooms looking for help…i know i was an emotional wreck…i was incapable of making sound and rational desicions for myself…if we are serious about getting sober, most of us turn to a sponsor and the fellowship to help us make desicions in early sobriety…i know for me, i had faced a divorce after two months sober, which threw me into another fit of uncontrollable emotional anguish…all types of scenarios ran threw my head at how to handle this situation…obsession about my wife plagued me at every turn…it was leaning on guys in the program who had walked through divorce and seperation in sobriety that walked me through it…that and God, which brings me to the fourth dimension of health

spiritual health is paramount for recovering addicts and alcoholics…like it or not, it is going to take a miracle to remove the merciless obsession to use and booze from us…no human power can provide us the relief and comfort that is missing once we have stopped getting loaded…for some, this is a difficult venture…alot of naysayers and scoffers think of religion when those in the program speak of spiritual principles…but, that is not really true…a true 12 step program is not a religion, or a cult…we practice ideals and actions that are rooted in real concern for others well-being…giving of ourselves so that others may enjoy life is the keystone to spritual wellness…going through the process of the 12 steps, we stop asking for help and turn our attention to what our true purpose in life is…to be of maximum service to our fellows and the spirit of the universe who resides over us all…when i think of spirituality, i think of all the simple truths my mother and grandmother taught me…love and tolerance for all human beings…treat others like i want to be treated…share what has been given to me freely…listen to those in need…remain available for those seeking help…staying spiritually healthy keeps me right-sized and guides me to my place in the world

the social and environmental dimensions of health are also essential for those of use in recovery…surrounding ourselves with like-minded people and freeing our life of damaging or dangerous components are vital to our success…we tell newcomers after they come in to change their playmates, playthings and playplaces…i have no business going to the dope house today…if you hang around the barber shop long enough, you are going to get a haircut…i still have some contact with a couple old friends that use today, but you will not find me hanging out at their house everyday like i used to…most of my interaction with those still abusing drugs and alcohol is over the phone, or correspondence through e-mail and snail mail…occasionally we do get together, but when we do, i make sure to take a trusted friend in the program along with me…i also go to places where liquor is served, but only when it serves a purpose and i have a good reason for doing so…like live music events and office parties…i follow the same policy, tho…taking someone who is sober with me, and also hitting a meeting before or after the event…of course, i did not feel comfortable doing things like that in early sobriety…after some time and working through the steps, i had developed plans of action and tools to use when confronted with booze and dope…it is also very important to give yourself an out, if you do find yourself in an uncomfortable situation…make sure to take your own ride, so that you can leave should you become jittery or jonesy

these are only suggestions out of my experience…if you have a question about anything i talked about here, be sure to council with your sponsor before making any decision you might later regret…i’m just attempting to illustrate how important our health is as related to sobriety…going through the reading and participating in the activities of my class, i was reminded of the many facets of being clean…stopping getting drunk and high is only the begginning…we must continue the work and strive not only physically, but emotionally, mentally, socially and evironmentally sober

***oh yeah…the sixth dimension is nutrition, but i didn’t have alot to say about that…i know that my sponsor told me to eat when i get hungry…to sleep when i get tired…to talk to somebody when i’m lonely…etc. etc…alot of us real alcoholics seek sugary foods when first drying out…something to do the metaphysical aspects of alcohol, and how our bodies break it down…i know for me, it is essential for me to keep a balanced diet to provide energy to meet the demands of my day…it is so easy just to eat the foods that i like…but, i do find when i eat better, the quality of my life and the level of my energy is infinetely greater than when i am eating crap…eating junk also affects my mood and self-esteem…i’m reaching that age when i have to watch what i eat and stay active in physical excercise, if i want that girlish figure i had in my twenties…today, i still have that beer belly from my drinking days…lol***

Aug 17

Steve H. Speaker Tape

Episode 47:  Tonight we share with you a good friend of the program.  Steve is an amazing person whom I know personally, and I feel extremely grateful that he agreed to allow me to tape him telling his story at my home group.  Steve has joined us on this radio show before (see Steel on Steel).  He is one of the most spiritually centered people I know in the program, and I feel very fortunate to have known him as I have.

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Aug 17

emotional need and security

“As long as (we) try, with all (our) heart and soul, to pass along to others what has been passed along to (us), and do not demand anything in return, life is good to (us). Before entering the program (we were) never able to give without demanding anything in return. Little did (we) know that, once (we) began to give freely of (ourselves), (we) would begin to recieve, without ever expecting or demanding anything at all. What (we) recieve today is the gift of ‘stability’; ‘stability’ in (our) program, within (ourselves), but most of all, in (our) relationship with (our) Higher Power.” p. 242 Daily Reflections

obviously i have paraphrased the above excerpt…i hope that’s not too annoying, it just sounded better to me in the third person…plus, i removed a couple of phrases, in order to include all of my friends here…i have been quoting a lot of AA literature lately, and for that i apologize…i promise to get back to more of the NA stuff soon

it’s been a few days since i have written a new note…a few items have come up for me recently, and i have attended some good meetings, met some good people, and had a really good talk with my sponsor…what, at first, was an extremely stressful situation, has simmered down and began to mend…and for that i am truly grateful

but, back to the passage above…this was read a few days ago in a meeting i attended out of town…it’s what i really needed to hear, and i wanted to share with you what i said in the meeting.

i found that i can still be more ‘demanding or gracious’, whatever the case may be, today…i truly believe i have recovered from that hopeless state of mind and body…i not longer suffer from active alcoholism and drug addiction….however, my character defects are still with me…it isn’t unusual for me to fall into that place where i again feel entitled to something, or think i deserve to be treated a certain way…on the other hand, i can become grateful to the extreme, as well…making a huge mistake or hurting someone’s feelings, i become all too glad and gracious when i am forgiven….i know i have dodged a large bullet

humility is not an easy thing to come by…as a matter of fact, i have been humiliated more times than humbled in this life…it isn’t often that i find myself in that ‘position of nuetrality, safe and protected’…the serenity our prayers speak about…it usually comes as a surprise when i am able to handle a situation that formally would have ended in disastor…it is in looking at the past that i am able to unlock the future…what i am trying to say here, is that i am no saint…and when i strive for perfection, the result is progress…i had to be reminded that i am only human lately…have i said that before?

it is also not easy for me to approach new people…i find it hard to break the ice and spark conversation…occasionally i am able to connect with someone, and i consider it a blessing…there have been times when i have shared in a meeting, and a person thanks me, because they needed to hear it…but, i try not to take any credit for that sort of thing….not a lot of what i share is really original…in trying to carry the message, it’s all been said before, it some form or fashion…besides, i truly believe that God works through his people…i never know what i say or do, and how that is going to affect someone…that is why it is essential i pay attention to how i am treating others today

i also find myself still expecting things in return when i do good deeds for people…not that i expect payment or good deeds back…that is rarely what i expect anymore…but, i do find myself expecting someone to stay sober, or start working the steps, and put my suggestions into practical use…and that rarely ever happens…it is my hope that it plants a seed, tho…in Sunday School several months back, we were talking about giving money to the needy, hanging out on street corners…one person piped up and said, ‘i don’t like giving them money…all they are going to do is get drunk with it, so i give them a sandwich or Bag of Grace.’…another peson answered her saying, ‘it’s not what they do with the money…that is there decision to make…we have done a good deed, and that is all that counts in God’s world…it is not our responsibility what they do with the money.’…i really liked that…and it is so true

this is a long blog, but i have to share one more thing before i go…when i first asked my sponsor to work with me, i did so because he approached me…we had known each other from before…i’m sure he remembers the first time i started coming around, when i was eighteen years old…when we first started working together, i wanted what he had…he had 23 years sober…he had an awesome job and career…he had a Harley and a house, with a family…when i called him with an issue a few days ago, stressed out to the max, not knowing what to do, or where to go from there…he had answers…he had suggestions, and valuable advice…and that’s what i find wanting from him today…emotional stability and sobriety…with that, i always feel secure

Aug 08

Evolution of the 12 Step Landscape

Episode #46:  Tonight we talk about the history of the program.  Exploring the path blazened by our founders.  What inspired them to participate in a sacrificial spirit, and what ultimately changed our fellowship.  Like Bill Wilson himself once said, AA will change, but our message must stay the same.  Setting personalities aside, in tonights episode we explore how the principles of our program continue to carry us through sober life.

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Aug 08

letting go of the wheel

“You cannot forever stand against God’s will for you, nor can you forever upset God’s plan for your life, even though God’s plan may be postponed by your willfulness and deliberate choice of evil. A whole world of men and women cannot permanently change God’s laws nor His purpose for the universe. The sea of life may look very rough to us, but we can believe that our Captain steers the boat on a straight course.”   July 5th Meditation for the Day…24 Hours a Day devotional book

i realize this may not be a popular topic with some of you…if you are easily offended by religious/spiritual talk, or if i tagged you by accident (i do not personally know most of my friends) forgive me…i try my utmost to keep the notes simple enough for all of us to relate…this passage just really touched me this morning and i wanted to talk to you about it

there was a time in my drinking/drugging career when i felt alienated and outcast by my friends and others around me…playing the victim role, i blamed my parents, the administration at school and the police force…’Question Authority’ became my motto, and i remember very clearly sitting on the bus on the way to school telling myself i would devote my life to ‘evil’…i would take whatever i could, without regret…deceive…manipulate…anything to get what i wanted, since i wasn’t recieving what i felt i rightly deserved from the world

i believe God was involved in my life all along…even when i defied a Creator of the Universe cursing and mocking Him…certain events have come to pass in my life, and like alot of people say in the rooms, ‘I would not be here today if I hadn’t have gone through what I have’…i strongly feel that it took every drunk, high and belligerent act to put me in these shoes today…not saying that God wanted me to do these horrible, stupid and tragic things…but, maybe allowed them to come to pass in order for me to be ready and accept what the spiritual world has to offer

i look at my Higher Power much like the Big Book describes Him…i honestly have faith that He plays a Father role in my life…and like all good fathers, He understands that there are some things i must learn on my own…i have had to come to terms with things as only i would understand them…and this Power i choose to call God is something i have a very limited understanding of…although, i firmly believe that God has an infinite understanding of who i am, and what it takes for me to learn a lesson and begin living life as He would have me…that is why i place such a large dependence upon Him…and my life and understanding is greatly improved when my will is in line with His

 

Jul 29

Leading a Horse to Water

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.

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Jul 29

when business becomes personal

“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

Jul 14

The Great Reality

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.

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