December 19, 2012
Why is it so hard to change behaviors and habits? I guess they make us feel comfortable. The known is very comforting. But wasn't it unknown at first?
Getting sober was the hardest change to accept for me. I would have, and tried to do anything in my power to no have to get sober. In many ways my crazy drunk life was comforting, it was the only life I knew. But after mamy difficulties caused by my drinking, something had to be done.
I tried the "minimal" approach and I got minimal results and drank again. The Big Book says that one has to have a complete psychic change to get truly sober. And for me nothing else worked. Until I was willing to change everything about me and my life, me and my life stayed exactly the same, miserable! Once I made the decision to change things started, slowly to change and improve.
Sobriety is a hard journey. It is also very rewarding. It opened me and my life to many possibilities that I never knew were there when I was drinking.
December 11, 2012
Phew! I finished yet another 4th step. It is a true journey to be able to clean the slate, when even after few years sober, I have piled on some resentments and fears. I am very grateful that I can do this kind of inventory, that makes me aware of my inner issues, those same issues that lead me to a drink over and over again. In sobriety, I have learned to clean house and make room for peace in my heart and a better, deeper connection with my higher power.
But to go thru a moral inventory can be quite grueling, who cares to look at themselves in such a unfavorable light? - it is way easier to ignore all the hate and anger that we fester inside. For me it was always easier to blame the world for my drinking, after all they have all done me wrong! But here in step 4 we must face our own wrongs! We must be able to be honest about our own behavior and accept our part in our conflicts with others.
"Next we launched out on a course of vigorous action, the first step of which is a personal housecleaning, which many of us had never attempted. Though our decision was a vital and crucial step, it could have little permanent effect unless at once followed by a strenuous effort to face and be rid of the things in ourselves which have been blocking us. Our liquor was but a symptom. So we had to get down to causes and conditions.
Therefore, we started upon a personal inventory." - AA Big Book, pg 63In the AA 12 and 12, pg 48 it is suggested that begin with the ..."universally recognized list of major human failings:"
- Pride is excessive belief in one's own abilities
- Envy is the desire for others' traits, status, abilities, or situation.
- Gluttony is an inordinate desire to consume more than that which one requires.
- Lust is an inordinate craving for the pleasures of the body.
- Anger is manifested in the individual who spurns love and opts instead for fury.
- Greed is the desire for material wealth or gain
- Sloth is the avoidance of physical or spiritual work.
Years of drinking has caused me to develop many of these failings. But the ability to look at my faults and work on my character defects, with the help of a sponsor and my higher power, clears the way to a better, sober life. And as a sober alcoholic I have a chance to become a better person by doing the steps and following the AA program. It's a true gift.
And no matter how hard these steps sometimes seem - "the monster's teeth are never as large as I imagine!" - something my sponsor says!
Click HERE to read the AA Step Four.
November 13, 2012
So here I was at a wedding. Sober. Feeling good, happy. Though there was a long period during the meal that I had a hard time with the smell of wine in the air. But I just went outside for a bit. Overall I felt pretty confident and ready to dance.
Alcohol is no longer my social buffer and that is totally amazing, because I used to not be able to do anything without alcohol, definitely not dance. But I had to learn, I had to find that courage, to do things that felt uncomfortable, that made me feel uneasy, the same things that I used to need a drink to do. I had to practice doing things that made me feel uncomfortable. Now I find that without alcohol, I actually have more confidence and courage. I find that I am the same crazy dancing person I was when I was drinking! And I know that I don't need alcohol any more. I can do anything sober!
October 26, 2012
Step 1 of the AA 12 and 12 book is the only step that I have to do every day and do it perfectly. I think it is so true, that no alcoholic is able to get and stay sober until he hits his own bottom. And everyone's bottom is different. I though, several times before I quit, that I have hit my bottom. And the last time I quit I didn't know it was going to be my last time. I fought it as much and as hard as I could. Nothing scared me, nothing, until I scared myself.
But I am so amazed that I got sober. Some people never get sober and die trying. And yet some get it the very first time. For me the first step was so crucial. To recognize that I have no control over alcohol (or drugs) and that my life has become unmanageable was so very difficult! Because the drug itself makes you believe that things are ok. And no matter what others say. I wanted things to be ok too. But they surly were not!
Admitting that I had a problem was so very hard; "Who cares to admit complete defeat? Practically no one, of course. Every natural instinct cries out against the idea of personal powerlessness." -AA twelve and twelve, pg. 21. That sentence just stuck in my head for so long, I would have given anything, seriously anything just so I was not an alcoholic. But my last drunk was so crazy and with no abviouse reason to it, that i just felt totally beaten down, I had no control over it at all. So I made a decision that I was done. Coming to acceptance that I cannot control my drinking actually freed me from the crazy mental obsession and opened up a wole world of possibilities. One day at a time, one step at a time!
October 16, 2012
September 17, 2012
"Is he going to be ok, did he have any severe injury, was he going to be handicapped, oh gosh handicapped? What kind? No it's not that bad. They will have to do X-rays, maybe stitches. Oh, will the stitches hurt. It's probably nothing, nothing at all. Or he will be dead...like I've seem on one of those shows. The child seems ok then a vein pops in their head and they are dead! If he dies I don't think I could handle it. If he dies I am definitely getting drunk. OMG. I am sure no one will care if I start drinking. I mean, how do you deal with something like that?"
As we were sitting in the ER room waiting for the doctor, I kept thinking about this thought process that I had. I wondered if everyone thinks that way too. Would they just get drunk? And would I really start drinking? I didn't when my mom died. And I don't even remember really wanting too.
So I am not sure. It has been a while since I drank alcohol. Sometimes I still miss it. But most of the time it still scares me. I do know that for me life was miserable when drinking. I am scared to live that life again. But when I am faced with catastrophe, even made up one, my first instinct is still to get drunk.
August 24, 2012
The more I thought about the party events the more freaked out and resentful I became. I seriously could not be a part of this!!! Why!!??? Cause I would drink myself to death! Seriously. Free booze!? Oh that is heaven to an alcoholic!!! Well...it actually is hell. But then I started getting really mad: I want to have fun too! I want free booze and free food and free baseball game. I want to socialize with my coworkers! I want to party too!!!
But, I realized that I just couldn't go to this event, at least not if I wanted to stay sober. I decided that I would just blame it on the family life, you know like a sick child or no babysitter or something. I know it sounds lame, and I am sure they will be thinking that I am lame, but that is better than - Oh did you see what she did last night! LOL! Can't believe it! She was sooo drunk!
I don't want to be left out. But I know I can not go without putting my sobriety in jeopardy. And my sobriety is the most important thing in my life today! Yes it is. So, I am not going. Because if I wasn't sober today I would probably not be around to be able to grow a resentment! LOL!
Today, I have a choice. And I chose life in sobriety.
July 21, 2012
My head thinks that things will be easier if I could have a drink. The thoughts are so strong that I even, almost, bought wine coolers. I thought that it maybe a safe way not to get drunk, I could just sip them all day long. Haha, that never happened! I never just sipped, in the end I always got drunk!
So I am a bit tired and overwhelmed and grouchy.
I decided that it was time to get to a meeting.
I love meetings. They bring me back to reality. Especially when there is a newcomer. I get to remember how it used to be; so lonely and hopeless, a total despair. So I listen. And then I am grateful again. Because I know. None of this would be possible if I was still drinking. And sipping wine coolers is not the solution at all. I have better solution now, that is AA. It keeps me grounded and sane. It's my higher power. And it works.
So I am still tired and bit overwhelmed. But I am sober and that's all that matters!
May 18, 2012
And I guess I was doing the best I could, because I had no idea that there was another way. I mean isn't that what you see others do? TV is the worst. People get drunk anytime there is something bad going on.
But I come to AA and I get sober and I learn a new life, along with new skills. So when mothers day come and I was feeling down I knew exactly what to do. I reached out for help. I talked to people and went to meetings. I and still amazed that drinking did not enter my mind. That I found a better way to cope, that I was able to get thru the day and turn it into a positive experience.
May 3, 2012
In the past I actually drank many times after creating these elaborate plans. Except the plans never ended quite right. The plan always started with trying to secretly get drunk and then sober up before I had to do whatever I needed to do later. It always made sense; I could drink till like 3p, then have 2 hours to sober up and pick up my kids. Yes that sounded perfect, but it never ended that way; I would continue to drink and not be able to pick up my kids, or go to work, or meet someone. It was very clear that when I stared drinking I never knew what would happen.
Yet I worked really hard on making these crazy plans. I think this is part of the mental obsession that the AA literature talks about. It only seem to have made sense to me, no one else. And it absolutely made no sense. Who does that? Alcoholics that's who!! Normal people don't think about drinking in the way we do. Normal people don't create plans to drink and get away with it. Normal people don't drink like us. They do not have the mental obsession like I do.
But in sobriety I don't have to do any of this. I can make better decisions. I have choices!
April 27, 2012
But I still crave being drunk. That is the strange part. I don't crave the drink itself. I mean sure the top shelf margarita floated with Grand Mariner tasted fantastic. But it was the buzz, the high, the greatly relaxing feelings that I miss. Troubles just seemed to melt away and happiness filled the air. That's when things were still ok with my drinking of course. That's when I was still able to actually enjoy drinking.
Unfortunately, this changed at some point. I no longer drank to relax and enjoy. I just drank. There was no reason. I drunk not to feel anything or to feel something more. But it didn't work. Except it made me not care about anything.
Today, sober I have to learn how to deal with life, life on life's terms. And I have to say that besides the occasional fuck it's, this is definitely easier softer way. I am actually able to manage my feelings. I am able to enjoy the moment. The now. And actually be happy. And feel real happiness. Feelings are no longer so scary. I understand that they are just feelings and the change and go away.
I like to compare life to the weather. Everyday is different. And sober I can enjoy each days weather.
April 17, 2012
But here I am. Four years. I never thought I would be so excited haveing lived life for 4 years, totally sober. And loving it! This is truly amazing! But I didn't do this alone, AA has saved my life! My sponsor has carried me when I had no clue how to live and my HP looked over me as I struggled in my early sobriety.
And this journey has not been without hardache; especially hard time dealing with my mom's death this past year. But in this short time, I managed to go back to school, get a great job, get married, buy a house, have a baby. Things that I thought were absolutely unattainable for me when I was drinking.
My favorite example of how sobriety can work in your life is my current job, which I absolutely love. I started there as a temp and it was so boring, I mean really boring in the beginning. But I decided that I would come to work on time, every day and do the best I could. After 6 months they hired me on as a Website Content Developer and a year later I become the Project Manager.. How did I accomplish this? I showed up! Really. I had no expectations and I did not do anything special. And all those times I was chasing after the top of the ladder at all my other jobs, I got no where; but always hangover or drunk or thinking about drinking did not make for a quality employee. But when I sobered up, showed up and become a worker among works, things started looking up.
So here I am. 4 years sober. And happy. There was a time I could not imagine this life, now I can not imagine going back to my old life. So I'll keep coming back!
April 5, 2012
I am coming up on my 4 year Aniversary. And I am still in disbelief that this is my life. If you knew me then, my life was nothing like this. It was dark, lonely and a mere existence. I lived with my ex, I didn't have a job or a car. I didn't have any friends. I didn't see my family. I just drank all day, in hope that one day I would pass out and never wake up. I was physically and mentally bankrupt.
Today I am a totally different person. A person that I never though I could be or even imagined I could be. I have a family of my own. I have friends and a great job. I have chance to live a good lifeand I get to live and experience life.
This is a true gift! Sobriety is a true gift!
March 27, 2012
And they sure are. Yet they seem a bit enjoyable too. When I was drinking I constantly lived in resentments. I resented everyone, all the time and for everything and I drank the poison-alcohol. I mostly drank over boyfriends, bosses and family. But really I could drink over just about anything in the world, and anything could be resented.
|AA Big Book, page 66.|
I walked around upset for a week. I shared my feelings with several of my AA friends and my sponsor and I finally realized that I was resentful. I decided to tell my dad that I missed him though this was very hard to do, and I told him that I would really like it if he come over for dinner. He was thrilled and we had a really great Sunday afternoon dinner. I kept thinking about the whole situation and how crazy it was, why couldn't I have told my dad I wanted to spend time with him in the beginning? Maybe it felt good to be mad at him, like when I was drinking. But expecting a certain behavior from someone and not telling them what that behavior is, is definitely a resentment.
And "Some of us have tried to hold on to our old ideas and the result was nil..." (AA Big Book, pp 58-59.)
In sobriety I have to remember that my old ideas don't work! I have to recognize when I am resentful and start on breaking that resentment right away. Because if I don't I will drink the poison. Both the AA Big Book and 12 and 12 talk about resentments as the number one reason we go back out. Resentments for some reason give us justifiable anger and the permission to drink over things. They don't ever change anything, or solve any problems but oh they sure make for a great excuse to drink!
But today I am staying sober.
March 21, 2012
I often feel the separation from the people that were once a part of my life and now they are not. The separation is drinking. This includes some people the I now realize were not really my friends anyway, so I am not too bothered, but the family...
My family for instance is pretty hard to deal with. I never really felt close to them or had many things in common with them. But, I had the drinking/smoking bond and I miss that a lot. It felt good to sit on the porch, sipping on some wine and chatting up about oh this great world. Why, those were the days! :)
Now that I don't drink or smoke and have kids and a family it seems even more that we are separated. I thought at first this was all in my head, but they seem to keep doing things together and I am not included. These things usually involved travel and drinking. It really bothered me one day so I shared about it in a meeting and found out that many sober people feel the way I do. Drinking is so social. It is everywhere and if you don't drink you are kinda out. And if people know why then you are even more out sometimes. It becomes this like, oh no, we can't drink around her cause she might start drinking again, thing. And, well, maybe that is ok too. I really do not need to be around drinking anyway and no I don't want to start drinking again.
I do miss the social aspect of drinking at times. Yes it felt like more fun and a "deeper" connection. But I believe it was all an illusion. I mean if alcohol was the only glue than it was definitely an illusion. This is also why I need to stay connected to AA and be involved, so I can experience "deeper" connections sober, with real people who think and feel just like me.
These connections are much more valuable to me today. And they last forever.
March 7, 2012
Alcohol used to be my cure all! It was the best. It really SEEMED to cure it all. Headache - gone! Backache - gone! Heartache - gone! It worked wonders on any ache! But now that I am sober, it really is hard to cope with all my aches. I just want them gone as soon as possible! This is one of my biggest challenges in sobriety, learning how to cope.
With the help of steps and AA I have been learning new ways to cope by coming to meetings and sharing, by calling my sponsor and by staying connected. I have also grown to have a new understanding that it is ok to hurt; everyone hurts sometimes. And that the hurt feelings will go away. It also helped to understanding that when I am hurting I am actually growing spiritually. And that I am actually coming to terms with an event and I am processing it. Unlike when I was drinking, I was just drowning all the feelings. I wasn't processing them at all, I was stuffing them down, one on top of another. No matter how much I drank they never went away. They actually got worse.
So now when I struggle with pain it doesn't last days, weeks or months anymore. I let the feelings just be there and allow myself to process the pain, knowing that the only way to the other side is through.
March 1, 2012
I can't seem to stop making things about me. It's all because of me, to me, for me, not for me, but definitely me,me,me! I would really like me to stop it. Lol!
I hear in the rooms of AA that this is the alcoholic thinking. I am not sure that a agree, but I definitely am aware of it and how much time I am capable of spending, analyzing things, whether they are about me or not. And of course most of the time they are about me. Lol!
No, they actually are not. I really am not the center of the universe. And others do not do things just to piss me of or hurt me. And there is absolutely no reason to take everything personally. People do things based on their own believes, not mine. What makes sense to me may not and most likely will not make sense to others. Each one of us does in fact live in their own world!
Thank god its not all about me!
February 27, 2012
I always have these fantasies of how I used to drink. I think I was glamorous and drank like a lady. But I have to remember that that was such a delusion. There was nothing glam about my drinking. It might have started with a glass of wine but I am sure the whole box went, especially if I didn't have to work the next day. I have to remember to go from my fantasy to reality.
|This is my fantasy!|
I have to run my fantasy all the way through:
So I sit on my porch with a glass of wine, I drink another. Starting to feel good but I want to feel better. So I pour another and yet another. If I haven't gotten more I would walk over to the store and get more. I would maybe try to eat but with the fear of slowing my buzz or not being able to continue at the pace that I was, I wouldn't eat much. My mind would wonder and be happy. Oh how great this life was, just me and my wine.
But then out of the blue I would find myself awake and it was the next day and the house was a wreck and my phone had strange messages on it and billion VM and all the wine was gone. And I looked like hell and my head was throbbing.
That was on a good night of drinking! I DON'T MISS THOSE DAYS! The thought that I lost chunks of time and had no idea what I did in that time, was just too much to bare. So most of the time I would just continue drinking. And this went on and on and on. I drove drunk in blackouts, I went to bars, I met strange people, I made random phone calls...
No. Not very glamorous at all!
February 23, 2012
February 22, 2012
Going to a bar for me is like being on a diet and having people eating my favorite cake in front of me! And just loving it! Ugh.
My boss ordered bunch of bar food telling the waiter "Two of everything that is not seafood, OK?". That's right she is allergic to seafood, very allergic, even the left over juices can make her very sick. She absolutely cannot be around anything seafood or based in seafood sauce or she might have a reaction and die.
Sort of like me... I absolutely can not have any alcohol. None. Or I might have a reaction and die. Seriously. When I was drinking, I never knew what would happen to me when I drank. Sometimes I was OK and sometimes I just blacked-out for the night and yet other times I would black-out for days. The alcohol might have not killed me directly but the things I did in blackouts and situations I put myself in definitely could.
About an hour later, as I was noticing people getting their second and third drinks, I decided it was time to go. Feeling a bit like I wasn't a part of the group if I left early, I decided that my sobriety meant to much to me to chance it. I cherish it, and know that it is easy to give it way and hard to
Wanting to stay sober more than wanting to get drunk, I left. Happy.
February 6, 2012
This surely brought me back. When I was newly sober I just couldn't go anywhere there was alcohol; and doesn't it seem like it is everywhere!? My cravings were so strong I swear I thought I was going to get struck drunk. And actually for good reasons. Thru my 4 years of relapsing I have gone to a store with no intentions to buy any alcohol and walked out with a box of wine. It seemed that once I acted on my craving there was no stopping me.
I had to stay away. The minute I decided that I was going to stay sober, I had to listen to my gut and be true to myself. If I felt uncomfortable or great, if I had a bad day or good, if I even though remotely I might want a drink I had to stay away. It was probably over a year until I was able to go to a store which sold alcohol. I just didn't trust myself.
Today I am ok in most instances and I always have a plan; someone to call or someone to go with. The Big Book says we can go anywhere in any situation where there maybe drinking, but we have to be in a good spiritual place and trust out feelings.
And after 4 years sober, I still don't think I could go to a Super Bowl party! Why? I just don't trust myself! I think it's the atmosphere, the commercial and the sense that you're suppose to get drunk at a Super Bowl party! Well, maybe you're not suppose to but today I cherish my sobriety and I don't want to do anything to jeopardize it!
February 2, 2012
But what do I do now? Not much. I know I cannot stay sober on my own. I need a higher power, something, someone greater than myself.
I've been reading We Agnostics in the Big Book- Online, pg 44, to help me connect with my HP, because however my believes change there still is, I believe, something greater than myself that I need to stay sober. I have tried to stay sober by myself and I failed over and over again. But once I accepted that I can rely on a power greater than myself I was able to stay sober. And this power does not have to be from any religion. Just anything that I can put my faith in. That is quite comforting because I know there are many things greater than me out there!
When, therefore, we speak to you of God, we mean your own conception of God. This applies, too, to other spiritual expressions which you find in this book. Do not let any prejudice you may have against spiritual terms deter you from honestly asking yourself what they mean to you.“Who are you to say there is no God?"
January 30, 2012
I know this now and have absolutely no doubt about it. But it took some time to get it thru my thick head. The first time I heard of drunk death, was when I guy about my age decided to cross the 6 lanes of local highway at night.
I don't know why some of us don't get it. I don't know why I finally got it. But I do know it requires constant awareness, this shit kills! I have to remember this, I have to keep it real and fresh. Because life gets better and I forget where I've been. And I already have been to institutions and jails. For me only death is left. So I'll keep coming back. This is the softer easier way!
January 10, 2012
Instead I have AA. And a huge part of the program stresses Acceptance. But how do you actually accept something? What do you do to accept? Is there an actual action? I guess not really. So how does one accept?
I think this is one of those things that happens with time. I think this is something you have to practice everyday, one day at a time. I think that it also involves accepting oneself. I think that if I accept myself I can accept other things, even death.
And I think about my mom everyday and I am constantly going over the last months, weeks and days of her life. And I am trying to make sense and accept her death. I suppose in the plainest terms it is part of life and all of us will die at some point. But somehow it is all still very hard to believe.
January 3, 2012
My mom in-law, the other day went on her rant about "the new normal" that you are often told to believe after someone close to you passes. She ranted so long it pissed me off and I said, I don't believe in this new normal, wtf, this ain't normal! My mother is dead! And I refuse to say this is my new normal! That's a load of crap just some way to make it sound better - anyway she started crying. I felt bad. We are both hurting...
So it got me thinking about acceptance and how hard it is to accept things, and I don't understand why. I am a logical person, it should be right? I mean if we accept certain things about life, just as they are, shouldn't death be one of them?
Accepting that I was an alcoholic took few years. Changing my life to the new none drinking normal is still going on. It's been a month since mom died. I guess this will take a while to get used to, too.