Jul 14

the interests of all concerned

“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

Jul 07

Rejection and Abandonment of Ideas

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.

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Jul 07

the new routine of sober living

“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

Jun 30

Never Alone

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?

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Jun 30

play the role

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?

Jun 09

A drug is a drug is a drug

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.

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Jun 09

the new gift of life

“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

May 03

the Root of Our Troubles

After quitting drinking and drugging, what do we have left to do?  Some fall under the delusion that alcohol and drug abuse are their only problem.  That life will be restored to normal, if they can just leave the booze and dope alone.  However, after working through the 12 Steps we find a much deeper reason for our troubles.  In this episode we explore and discuss what drove us to get loaded in the first place.  We are talking about the Manifestations of Self

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May 03

what we have to offer

“On the third day the lawyer gave his life to the care and direction of his Creator, and said he was perfectly willing to do anything necessary.  His wife came, scarcely daring to be hopeful, though she thought she saw something different about her husband already.  He had begun to have a spiritual experience.

 

“That afternoon he put on his clothes and walked from the hospital a free man.  He entered a political campaign, making speeches, frequenting men’s gathering places of all sorts, often staying up all night.  He lost the race by only a narrow margin.  But he had found God–and in finding God had found himself.

 

“That was in June, 1935.  He never drank again.  He too, has become a respected and useful member of his community.  He has helped other men recover, and is a  power in the church from which he was long absent.”  AA BB  p. 158

 

we read this passage in the Big Book study tonight at the meeting…this part of ‘A Vision for You’ is describing the experience of AA #3, and is one of my favorite stories in the Big Book…it starts off with Bill Wilson in the Mayflower hotel lobby, between the bar full of ‘gay chatter’ and the phone booth, with the church directory…he chose the phone booth and dialed many numbers, before reaching a connection that lead him to that fateful meeting with Dr. Bob…after Bob sobered up, they went to a hospital together to find another drunk to accept their treatment, hence AA #3

 

hearing this story tonight, i realized how fortunate i am to be a recovered alcoholic/addict in AA in the year 2010…in the Thirties, many people died from our disease…those that were lucky, were admitted into hospitals and sanitariums…there were no drug treatment facilities back then…Doctor’s pretty much threw their hands up at people like us, and deemed us hopeless, or doomed…all they could do was treat us, detoxify our bodies, and strongly stress that we could no longer use alcohol and drugs safely…but, after being dicharged, mostly all returned to the booze and dope, only to end up back in the hospital or nut house, after a short time

 

when Bill Wilson began to apply the principles he learned from the Oxford Groups, and ultimately had his bright light, spiritual experience in Townes hospital, he knew he had to carry his experience as a message to other suffering drunks, if he were to stay alive himself…after some time trying this, he began to feel disheartened and discouraged…noone he approached wanted to hear his story…none he attempted to work with stayed sober…he began to feel his efforts were in vain…then, his wife Lois told him that he had in fact been successful…Bill W. had six months sober that historic night when he happened upon Dr. Bob…Bill knew that if he didn’t help someone else stay sober, he would be drunk himself…so he chose the telephone over the bar…the insane idea failed to win him over that night, thank God…for our fate as hopeless drunks and addicts hang in the balance right then…can you imagine what life would be like without this program?

 

that is how this thing works so well, i believe…the therapy, the indentification of one recovered drunk/addict working with another…plenty of people approached me before i came to the program…parents, teachers, even friends attempted to persuade me to stop using, or drink moderately…i always felt persecuted and threatened by their pleas…until a sober drunk sat me down and read descriptions of alcholism out of the Big Book, and described his own affliction to me…after telling him that i could relate, he recommended i attend some AA meetings…i have been coming back ever since…so it is true…once the seed has been planted…once a drugee/alkie has full knowledge of his condition, and where the solution lies, he will never be the same again…and that is the hope we hold when we share our ESH with another sufferer…that something will click…that we can reach them where others have failed…for once we have heard how others have discovered themselves, we have an oppurtunity to seek that power they have tapped into…and once we have relied upon God to keep us sober a day a time, we soon discover who we really are…and then we can share that with still others

Apr 20

the Evil and Corroding Thread

This is a show we ran on 4/3/2012.  Never have used the topic of fear, but I think the show turned out nicely.  Joseph G always has good ESH to share, and fear still is a big part of  my problems in daily life.  In fact, fear still stands in the way of me turning my will and life over to the care of my Higher Power.

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