I write to stay free so I go to meetings of AA to hear the voices of freedom,  and I take walks on the beach to experience the feelings of freedom. I have to feel things and when the going gets tough, I count my blessings. I learn that from people who are sober alcoholics. I also began saying a simple prayer in the morning for God to put people in my life that I can help. The blessing is that He does, but I must aswer the call. Stronger men than me have been taken by the undercurrents of addiction far too soon.  I was in bondage in every sort of way but especially to the emotive part of me. I was clueless that I was using alcohol just to get some peace of mind…and then the very friend I found inside the bottle turned on me. Allowing others to walk beside me in my times of distress is a way of serving them, while also allowing them to serve me. It’s the 12th step of AA. As a result of working steps 1 thru 11, we then have an opportunity to share with others the blessing of hope, but we can’t transmit something that we don’t have. Some days it is just a matter of faith. What I’ve learned is that if I want to stay sober then I have to do what sober people do. It takes faith, courage, and a heaping dose of humility. Sprinkle in a little gratitude, and there is a recipe for learning how to live sober one day at a time. Life happens, change is inevitable, and growth is optional. Counting my blessings is one sure way that helps me to stay away from the first drink…good day!…b

Friends and addiction

“Wanna find out who your friends are? Get sober.”This anonymous quote reminds us of a powerful, often-painful truth: When we change, our relationships to the people around us change too. Often when we first get sober, we may find ourselves feeling isolated so we attempt a new relationship without getting to know our true sober selves. Some friendships and connections fall away, and we’re not sure what will take their place. When that happens, it helps to be able to hear from others who have gone through the same thing. It helps to be reminded that we’re not alone, that many people have walked the road before us. Today, I thank God for these people. They taught me what codependent thinking FEELS like and that has made all the difference. I got caught and trapped there for most of my life. Many of us in recovery find that controlling, obsessing, and caretaking do not work in any type of relationship. Oftentimes, the strangeness of some friend in recovery relapsing causes us to have to pull back. It is healthier to set those boundaries early but always reminding them that my hand is still there when they reach for help. I have to remember that my life is at stake. Some tragically never make it back. It is a sad ending to what once had been a happy life. Friends will ebb and flow thruout our lives, and some friendships will grow stronger thru the years. Some may even turn into courtship and marriage.  Others we may lose to the natural order of life. Recovery principles work in harmonious relationships when I do my part to see how I can improve myself. It takes a village of friendly networks wherever I go to help me stay sober. I have found it to be one of life’s simple pleasures…good day!…b

Recovery tools

Nothing can assure that I won’t take that first drink as much as writing down or mentally focusing on a good ol gratitude list, saying a prayer, attending a meeting, or a conversation thru out my day with other alcoholics in recovery. Growing my recovery network has been foundational to me staying sober as well. Reading recovery literature and spiritual material is also helpful in keeping my mind from racing and thinking only about myself. These are recovery tools; those important parts that glue together when the seams come unraveled. Staying centered is key for me along my recovery road. Accepting others as they are, and realizing that we all struggle with something makes me human. It is exactly why I need God. It is easy to get complacent with life when times are good, but a blip on the radar occurs and suddenly I can gravitate toward the negative, fear filled side. It is almost ingrained that is where my mind goes. Maybe I lose a contract or the car battety is dead. Maybe the kids get sick, or my bicycle chain breaks. All these events have happened and more, but the people that I know that are the happiest are the ones who accept it and let it go quickly.  They have recovery tools they use to stay sober…..I’m visiting my old stomping grounds for a few days, so I visited my CA homegroup. I”ll make a 9:30 meeting this morning and see my friends there before I leave town. Some are the very ones I walked into the rooms with just months apart. They are staying sober as well. That gives me hope that the program outlined in the book really does work for helping me stay straight. You see, I can”t do this by myself. I need the help of a sponsor and others who have experienced the chaos that alcoholism creates. They somehow find joy and meaning by helping others. A psychic change occurs and they no longer obsess over people, places, or things. Now I know that we are free because we pick up the spiritual toolkit laid at our feet….good day!…b

Soul searching

Doing the daily work it takes to remain sober can be challenging at times. It is difficult for me to admit my faults and confess my shortcomings, but I have come quite aways in a few short years. It is required if I want to become the man that I had always pretended to be. I lived a double lie until I accepted my alcoholism and got honest about it. Getting sober was hard but because I had never really worked the steps, I can’t say my benders were relapses. They were just more of the same: drinking against my will, changing brands and types, and trying to control my intake was and still would be a dismal fail. I had to concede that I was just doing what I hated most and that was lying about it. Noone I know now cares much about a liar. I thought I was covering my tracks, but in the end I couldn’t even pretend. Asking for help takes courage but my pride and ego will step in and tell me to act as if I know. Soul searching can be tricky when I’ve lied so much that even I believed them. I wrangled with delusional thinking until my mind began clearing up. Today, it takes working the steps and working with others to keep myself in check. I had to get down to causes and conditions realizing all the while that I wasn’t fooling  anyone but myself. My disease is a spiritual one and I now know that I need help to stay out of bars and off the bottle. There is nothing left there for me but pain and misery. I don’t always do life right, but when I do some soul searching…its a good, good thing….blessings, b

Same story

What qualifies me as an alcoholic is that I could not stop drinking when I started and never could quit entirely even after swearing off. I struggled for a quarter of a century accepting that fact. It is a warped mental deception to believe that I was drinking for the fun of it. It wasn’t always miserable early on, but somewhere I crossed the line into complete powerlessness. Nobody could stop for me, and no man or woman could threaten to cut me off to make me stop. Chasing the idea that I could control and manage my drinking became the great obsession. I could run, but I always ended up with the same type problems: no money, bills piling up and always at odds with my fellow man. I could white knuckle it for a while, and then invariably I had no defense against the first drink. It’s the same story that I hear others share in the rooms of AA. For me to always think I was different, much of who I am now is very similar to others; their struggles, their pains, their heartaches are mine. No one I’ve ever met in recovery got there because life was really going so well. I was maladjusted, the book says, and today it makes perfect sense. I need the help of God and others to stay sober but it is my pride and ego that will tell my mind that I’m still different. At an early age, I began to use people and love things and I got it all backwards for a long, long time. My tolerance level increased, and so did my consumption. I slipped deeper into my addiction until I learned that it was my secrets that had haunted me until I worked the 12 steps. For years, I thought I was incapable of ever quitting for good. Today, I just live day to day with the end in mind. The two parts of my alcoholism are mental and physical. The mental obsession would trigger the physical cravings. It is the same stories I hear, feel, see, and experience in the rooms. I am no different in most respects and now I look for the common traits of others with my addiction. I always wanted to come clean and finally I told my worst secrets. Putting on a front or facade finally eroded around me, and all I was left with was me. No flip flops, sleeping on others couches, and starving to death couldn’t convince me. I had to find hope from others in order to finally surrender to the idea that I could not drink like normal people…good day!..b