screenshot_2016-11-02-19-07-34-1                    You’d think I’d be over it by now. Approaching my fifth year of the holidays sober inundates my mind with memories of the past, so I have to remember what happens when I hear that still small voice saying, “you got this; perhaps you can take a shot of 101 Wild Turkey.” I’d have to admit, just like Robert Downey, Jr., that a shot at Thanksgiving would totally ruin our Christmas. The difference today is that I remain willing to do what I once feared which is to be open minded to change. When a man figures out that liquor has him, he has only two options: drink to the bitter end or seek a spiritual solution. Many take their last breaths wishing they had quit while there was still time. Then, time runs out. No fun anymore, and I’d still drink to relieve my mental obsession and physical cravings.  In fact, alcoholism is such an insidious disease that many “pursue it into the gates of insanity or death.” Growing up in public is hard, but it’s the vulnerability and willingness of others to admit that they are powerless over liquor also that still gives me hope. Ask any number of them, and they will probably tell you that they remain sober by the willingness to work a 12 step program. Watch the ‘Resurrection of Jake “the Snake” Roberts’ on Netflix, and see for yourself how maddening and frighteningly sick alcohol makes guys like us. The former WWF wrestler made a fortune in front of 90,000 screaming fans, and because of injuries and an assortment of childhood of origin traumas, found himself drinking, taking pain pills, and smoking crack in a dilapidated house he called home until a former wrestling buddy, “Diamond Dallas” Page, intervened to help his friend. We all have stories of people who’ve reached out, but until I had no reservations, there was very little hope of my recovery. It’s so strange now, looking back at how insane I really had become. As a result of becoming willing to admit that I can’t drink alcohol of any kind, my spirit is free so that I can go about my life and enjoy the holidays with my friends and family….good day!…b

Self Pity

imageThere are many reasons we all can feel sorry for ourselves, but for an alcoholic like me to wallow in self pity is not only poisonous; it’s lethal. It has taken me years to be able to recognize when I’m there; yet, understanding can still allude me. That’s why I need the accountability of a sponsor and friends to give me their perspective on where I am……….. but here I go. A busy week of family, fun, Thanksgiving, and football are all ahead. The family wedding of my niece was yesterday. I traveled 8.5 hours thru maddening holiday traffic Friday. Never mind that I have a bad cold and am physically sick. You see where I am going now? It may not be apparent at first,  but look closer and you will hear “ME” in it all,  and somewhere I become the victim and martyr. That’s what working the steps do for me. They have shown me that without admitting that I am the problem, there can be no solution. So, my brain lulls me to sleep wanting you to feel sorry for poor, pitiful, me. Talking about a problem without offering a solution is whining, and let me tell you that for the longest, I was a whiner. The same old “somebody done somebody wrong song. ” How can I first recognize, identify, and get back to the idea that no one’s out to get me, that it’s my perspective that is really screwed up? First, I have to remember my disease is spiritual in nature, and the farther those dark voices get in my head, the more sick I become. Inversely, the spiritual is the last part most of us get when attempting to change the only way of coping with problems we have ever known, but I’ve used up my ticket to chemical piece of mind. I must learn to trudge thru the traffic, the event, the holidays, and the craziness of busyness and commercialism that resides in my head around this time of year. After all, the sinuses will get better, the kids will be fine, the turkey will get cooked, and the traffic flow will subside. And hopefully the in-state rivalry football game on Saturday will be a win for the good guys. It’s life, we all have one, and no one has too much time to revel  in the fallen seed of my self centered pity party……blessings….b


screenshot_2016-11-05-06-39-10-1There is not a chapter in the AA Big Book entitled, “Into Feelings,” but that’s where I got stuck most of my life. I’d often wondered what life would be like without them, or at least a dulled down version. I found out when I took my first drink. The feelings of fear, anxiety, nervousness, and worry all went away; replaced by an independent idea that feelings were overrated and understated. Alcohol is a great persuader. It begins at once to make all my decisions. What I’ll have or lose, who I’ll be, where I’ll go, and what I’ll do. Thankfully, I have a solution today; one that works in good and bad times. I made a speaker meeting last night at a local resident facility for those of us who seek treatment for substance abuse. I’ve been there myself, sat in that seat, thought those crazy, insane thoughts and wanted to crawl out of my own skin. My brain would tell me, ” you feel fine, you’ll be able to handle it when you get out.” I would self-will it for a while, not drink, but deep down I wanted to believe those old ideas because I was more comfortable with dulling my feelings. I was acting on the thoughts that got me in trouble. The thoughts are what create the feelings. I was reminded when an individual ,who was a patient, asked how he could feel happy.  He wants what we all want, but I have  to get miserable enough before I’ll seek wise counsel, help someone else, or perhaps work the steps. Why is that? Because I feel better, nevermind the consequences. Feelings, I have since learned, are neither good nor bad. They are not moral or immoral. They are just feelings, and in order to change, grow, and learn I have to embrace them, recognize them, and accept them. Running to a bottle is not the answer. I know, I was one of the ones who had to learn the hard way….good day!….b