April 28, 2011

AA Step Three - Made a Decision

AA Step Three - Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood him.

AA 12 and 12, Step Three, pg 34.
I missed the step 3 meeting because I was in the ER, fantasizing about a great high! See Prescription for Crazy. But this is definitely one of my favorite steps that I probably use every day! No really! The 3rd step prayer and the serenity prayer have literally saved my ass on many occasions. Whenever my ego wants to navigated and the control becomes unbearable, I turn to this step!

But how do you exactly relay on a power greater than yourselves??! How do you give up control? This seemed totally impossible to me! I AM self-reliant, I can do everything by myself, and don’t need any help from anybody, ever! Right?? But in reality I couldn't handle it by myself at all, that's why I drank...I couldn't manage it, I couldn’t deal with it, I couldn’t live it! So step 3 was a great relief. It was like taking step 2 a bit further for me; I already believe that HP can help me and restore me to sanity, now I need to rely on him to guide me and help me through the journey. And all I needed, as it says in the AA 12 and 12, is willingness!! Actually, the key of willingness!

The 3rd step prayer has really helped me to let go of my control. I started saying them ever morning and little by little my days had become more manageable! 
God, I offer myself to Thee — to build with me and to do with me as Thou wilt. 
Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will. 
Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness 
To those I would help of Thy Power, Thy Love, 
And Thy Way of life. May I do Thy will always!
Yes, it was time to give up the power! Let someone else drive this life bus! That's what I usually say; " I am not in charge here!" Though some days this is easy to do some days not so...like it says, your self-will might take the willingness right back!! But you can always come back and try again. It is very freeing to give up control, especially since I seem to have a death grip on everything!

So little by little I gave up few things, like getting upset about how my husband loads the dishwasher, or the crazy drivers on the road, or my boss being grumpy. In each one of these events, there was some part of me that wanted and tried to control, even though I didn't have too or I really couldn't - I would reorganize the dishwasher after my husband, I would yell out obscenities at other drivers, and I would walk around angry at work, cursing my boss under my breath. This all left me quite discontent! But by realizing that I could just try to accept these things, because really, they were not that big of a deal, I realized that everything was still ok, and in the end I was not miserable!
Once we have come into agreement with these ideas, it is really easy to begin the practice of Step Three. In all times of emotional disturbance or indecision, we can pause, ask for quiet, and in the stillness simply say: “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference. Thy will, not mine, be done.” - AA 12 and 12, Step Three, pg 41.

April 25, 2011

Prescription for Crazy

I had a crazy experience with pain meds last week that just again proves that I have an addiction to anything that might make me feel different than normal. I have not ever considered myself a drug addict, drugs are not part of my story, I am a straight alcoholic. LOL!

But there I was in the ER, on morphine and fantasizing about a great high... that never come. I was quite surprised at how my brain took me to the fantasy land! LOL! I wanted the drunk high... so bad. But between the Valium, Percocet and Morphine nothing was doing the "trick" and my mind kept thinking I just need more, more, I need more! It was so strong that I forgot about the pain and why I was in the hospital to begin with.

All I could think about is when was the high gonna hit me. It never did, thank God. I did get worried after a while, and I told the nurse I was in recovery, though she didn't seem to care at all. Later I ended up tearing up the prescription since I wasn't in a horrible pain anymore, and I just couldn't trust myself! I know that pain meds should be taken when needed, but I really felt like they over-prescribed, and if Motrin was going to take the pain away why did I need Valium and Percocet? Nope, I'd rather be sober! REALLY? Did I say that? I remember when I did not want to be sober for even a minute! WOW! That's right, I'd rather be sober!

This whole experience has been a real awaking, I am an addict, no matter what it is. And btw, I am doing ok but dag what a scare and a real eye opener about the pain killers. Drug is a drug is a drug....at least for me...

April 15, 2011

AA Step Two - Came to Believe

AA Step Two - Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

This weeks step meeting was powerful. This is pretty tough step for most. Power greater than ourselves and sanity or rather lack of sanity, in one sentence just seem a bit to large. For me this Power greater than myself was instantly assumed that I had to believe in GOD and that just wasn't going to happen! God was mean and had strict rules and I was already going to burn in hell, in fact there was a place being saved for me in hell since I was 9 years old! I never prayed, or said the Lords prayer at meetings, I thought I could do this without GOD, really!!!

But I kept relapsing and things were getting worse. Then my sponsor gave me a Sandy Beach CD. On the CD Sandy talks about how his sponsor helped him with the god idea, he kept calling it HP. He said he tried to get sober on his own but couldn't, his sponsor said since he has already conducted the "no god" experiment and it wasn't quite working, maybe he should try the "god" experiment and see how it works. Then he said, from today on just decide that everything is god and god is everything, and you can call it your Higher Power. For some reason that really made sense to me. Another thing that really helped was when my sponsor told me that if you take out the god idea from the Lords Prayer and just look at the words, it is really beautiful. "Thy will be done", "forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us", "lead us not to temptation but deliver us from evil"; those are really nice things to hope for she said, and I agreed I started saying it everyday!

Now the sanity thing seemed even harder! I am not insane! Not at all! And I certainly do not need to be "restored to sanity," I thought everything I did when I was drinking was very normal and thoroughly thought out! It was normal to drink large amounts of wine before going out, so I  wouldn't get too drunk once out; it was normal to smuggle wine in sippy cups to work, actually that was ingenious! It was quite normal to drink early in the morning when I got off the night shift, that was my relax time! It was very normal to go to a bar by myself, or hide keys from myself at home so I wouldn't go out in a blackout, or hide my alcohol all over the house! Yes, yes all normal and quite sane, right?!?! It all made sense to me! Then one day I met a friend for lunch who I have not seen in 15 years! As I started telling her a bit about what was been going on I could see her face get more of the look of disbelief. She finally said, "OMG, I am so sorry, that's horrible, you've been through a great ordeal!" I remember sitting there and thinking, really? That was horrible? Ordeal? I honesty thought it was FINE, just fine. Now I can laugh about it all, my thinking was so skewed, I still some times have to say, "Normal people don't do that!" The alcohol is cunning and baffling!

I think step 2 is great, it gives you hope, that if you just try to believe, it will happen and your life will change for the better. And I love the idea of a higher power, she's my protector!

I pray for an open mind
so I may come to believe
in a Power greater than myself.

I pray for humility
and the continued opportunity
to increase my faith.

Click here to read AA Step Two.

April 11, 2011

The AA Promises

Sobriety doesn't guarantee anything, not even that you won't ever get drunk again. Just like with anything in life, there are no guarantees with sobriety. And if we don't continue growing and developing ourselves, our issues, often caused by ourselves, will continue to hurt us. To begin to be able to reach the promises we must work on ourselves. The AA 12 steps help us do that. Sobriety is just a daily reprieve from the drunkenness, and we must do the work to keep it.

I have to remember this whenever I am in a hard place, and dealing with a difficult issues. Because my first instinct is to run! Run away from it all, and find a way to numb it! But I know now that if I stay and deal with the issues, I will learn and grow...And the issues will get smaller... And then the issues I used to think were problems, will dissipate! These are the AA promises!

The AA promises:
Page 83-84, of the Big Book

Here are The AA Promises
If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are half way through.
We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness.
We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it.
We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace.
No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others.
That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear.
We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows.
Self-seeking will slip away.
Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change.
Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us.
We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us.
We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.
Are these extravagant promises? We think not.
They are being fulfilled among us - sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly.
They will always materialize if we work for them.

April 8, 2011

Feelings Aren't Facts

But aren't they? I always thought that feelings were facts, because they felt real. I mean isn't love a fact? Or anger? Or happiness or joy? I think so! But I soon discovered that I had a flew of feelings that were really negative and I believed in those too.
Thoughts are not feelings and feelings are not facts; they only have the power we give them.
Although feelings feel real, most feelings are based on fear, fear based on our old ideas, fear based on things we believed for years and carried them in from childhood. I believed that I was a lousy human being because I was often told so. Because I believed this, I felt like a lousy human being. The feeling was very real but it was not a fact at all! The fact was that the person saying this to me was trying to hurt me and the fact was that I was not a lousy human being.
But how do you get out of this negative thinking if you are the person that has brought these negative feelings in?? My destructive drinking not only made my life unmanageable but also my feelings! Feeling that I though were based on facts! I was a bad daughter, I was a bad friend, I was a bad worker, I was a bad human because I could not control my drinking and my drinking hurt many people. I felt so much guilt and shame; I once again believed that I was a lousy human being!
But here is the truth! Alcoholism is a disease, it’s not a morality issue, I did not get up one morning and though “I want to be an alcoholic when I grow up!” NO, that was not my dream! EVER!
My dream was to be “normal,” just like everyone else! My dream was to be happy and live a good life. My dream has come true because I am sober today.

“The tyrant alcohol wielded a double-edge sword over us: first we were smitten by an insane urge that condemned us to go on drinking, and then by the allergy of the body that insured we would ultimately destroy ourselves in the process.” – Step One, 12 &12.

April 5, 2011

AA Step One - We admitted

AA Step One - We admitted we were powerless over alcohol - that our lives had become unmanageable.

Today I went to a new meeting that my sponsor recommended. It is a step meeting and today was the beginning of the series. I decided that I was just going to listen and absorb and as people spoke I was flooded with many emotions and memory bubbles. 

Step 1! The very first sentence of step one had me scared shitless when I first read it, "Who cares to admit complete defeat?" oh that definitely was not me! Nope, NEVER! I would do anything else I had to do but stop drinking. I've been coming around the rooms of AA for 7 years and I am going to have 3 years in two weeks, do the math, it took me a while...many relapses and 6 detoxes and 3 hospital stays, 2 alcohol awareness classes, 6 months at the county rehab then 20 months at an out patient county rehab, 5 days in jail, 2 weeks in physic ward, 2 jobs lost, 3 relationships wrecked, and loosing custody of my daughter for a year.


It wasn’t always that way; I drank for fun and had fun for many years before it all started to get crazy. And I maintained good jobs, and I got 2 degrees, and finished summa cum laude, and had lots of friends, and a nice condo, and new car, and everything right?! But then it just stop being fun…and become a crazy obsession.

While in the last rehab I was told I had to go to meetings and since I wanted to get my daughter back I started going...but I just kept looking for a way to drink normal not to actually stop drinking! One morning I woke up flat on my kitchen floor, I opened my eyes and thought wtf, I laid there for a while trying to figure out what happened...blank...could not remember a thing...what day is it? What time is it? OMG what happened? I tried to get up but I was actually still drunk and my body was in pain. I reached over to the cupboard to get another drink, go figure, but that was my turning point really, what the hell was I doing? Insane! Yes! I had no control and I was completely defeated! I thought that I only had two choices, keep drinking and hopefully die, or give up this fight and get sober... I was powerless over alcohol—my life has become unmanageable… I decided to get sober.

I remember a huge weight lifted that second, I felt certain comfort and clarity for the first time ever! That was my beginning...
Click here to read AA Step One.

April 4, 2011

My New Sober Family

Good weekend is great! Good sober weekend even better! When I have a really great time with my family, I either have a hard time believing that this is actually possible or I can't believe that I was missing out on all this!

I spent years drinking, and hating my family and everything about them. I lived blaming them for screwing me up, and everything in my life, from the very beginning of my existence. I drank at them many times because they did this to me. I lived in total victim mentally and I created a prison in my own head; a viscous and lonely prison. But miracles do happen... and one day, I was given a recovery CD, told to really pay attention to the beginning. 

The AA speaker with 26 years, started by saying, and I am paraphrasing, "What if, starting today, you forgive every single person that has ever, ever done you wrong? What if, today you accept that your parents did the best they could? What if, starting today you admit that your old ideas availed you nothing?" These were amazing words, I actually felt strange, calming feeling of freedom filling me up. I felt the hate slowly dissipate and new view of my whole life emerging. I found this so amazing I kept listening to the CD over and over, and slowly I was able to forgive, admit that I was wrong and let go…

Today I know that my parents did the best they could, at the time, and I am so grateful to have them back in my life. This is the true miracle of sobriety. These are our promises!