February 28, 2013

Giving Up the Debate

In my last post I talked about being in my head, well, I have finally had enough and decided to give it up. Yep, really no one cares what came first the chicken or the egg! Well, maybe some do, but I am not going to figure it out, that's for sure. Lol!

This happens every time I am working the steps. I get so wrapped up in all the how tos and whys and fixing my life and my behavior. It's not supposed to be this hard, I just "like" to make it hard I guess, with my... oh so deep and intellectual mind! Lol! But it just serves no purpose. The debate can go on and on forever, and nothing actually gets done. HA! Maybe that's it!!? Maybe it is my way to procrastinate! Maybe is my way of avoiding doing the actual work! HA. That would make sense! - Oh goodness, see, I am trying to figure it out again. Too funny!

Anyway, I have come to a point in my sobriety where I have to clean the slate so I can finally put the past in the past and make my amends - step 8 and 9. Of course to do so I have to by willing and open minded enough go back and re-examine my past, ugh, not an easy thing to do at all. I don't like it. I don't like the memories and the feelings it brings. But my drinking was only the symptom. There was a lot crap there already before I started drinking alcoholically. It's time to get to the bottom of it, its time to get rid of the baggage, it's time to drop the rock! I know once I get thru to the other side I will feel better and I will be able not to keep dragging my past into the future. And that would be absolutely amazing!

- But, first I have to go back and do step 7, since I sort of skipped it by getting all wrapped up in the upcoming 8 & 9. - HA! Another way to procrastinate? Hmmm... yes!! Well, like they say: don't miss any steps, you might fall! Lol! -

February 25, 2013

Trust Yourself

I've been in my head again, I am working real hard on my character defects. I am staying away from self pity, self justification and all self - anything. I am avoiding gossip. I am trying to be kind and compassionate to all. I am trying to do the right things every time! And well, I am not doing really good with it all, I am just not able to be this "perfect." Ugh. It has become a pretty crazy mess in my head. I've been questioning everything I do and say, and dwelling on why, and have gotten no answers!

I told my sponsor about how I was feeling and as she helped me to understand what was going on in my head, and what I was trying to do is not quite possible, my behavior started to "sort of " make sense.

Ha! This is not something I just do or can learn or can just become. This takes time, and a totally different kind of work. But, here, I am again, the self- reliant intellectual being that I am, trying to fix myself, AND overnight practically! Ha! Too funny! It appears that I've been trying to control my own self! Like I can actually make myself perfect, like there is such a thing as perfect! Talk about inflated ego, I think I need to re-visit the third step! Lol!  But I am a do-er, I say! I can do and fix anything! Oh, and I am such an over-achiever! lol!

But ...This is a spiritual job. This does not require intellect. This requires trust, faith and humility. This requires that I put my reliance in my HP!

My sponsor sent me this beautiful quote that put my whole head at ease.

"So believe it. Don’t waste another moment doubting or second-guessing what you know deep down inside you to be true. Live courageously and cast your fears aside. Open yourself up to the full spectrum of human experiences that are awaiting you and allow the spiritual essence that is present within us all to guide you. Ask your question sincerely and listen carefully for the reply. It will come. Let down the walls around your heart and love wholeheartedly. You will feel a love and warmth greater than anything you’ve ever experienced. Say your prayer with unshakeable faith and wait for the answer. You will be blessed beyond your wildest dreams.

You’re not crazy. Trust yourself." -  Chris Assaad, The Daily Love

February 24, 2013

A Vision for You, AA Big Book, pg 164

Early in sobriety I had no idea what the future vision was for me. I had no idea where this new, scary road was going to lead me, I just wanted to get thru to the next day sober. But I did have faith, I had faith that somehow, the new scary road was going to be better than the old one; it just had to be!

The below passage is read at the end of many A.A. meetings in my area, and can be found in the AA Big Book, pg 164.  I remember hearing it for the first time and thinking that I wasn't quite sure what all that meant, but I had this wonderful feeling that things were going to be ok! And now this is why I keep coming back :)


Our book is meant to be suggestive only. We realize we know only a little. God will constantly disclose more to you and to us. Ask Him in your morning meditation what you can do each day for the man who is still sick. The answers will come, if your own house is in order. But obviously you cannot transmit something you haven’t got. See to it that your relationship with Him is right, and great events will come to pass for you and countless others. This is the Great Fact for us.

Abandon yourself to God as you understand God. Admit your faults to Him and to your fellows. Clear away the wreckage of your past. Give freely of what you find and join us. We shall be with you in the Fellowship of the Spirit, and you will surely meet some of us as you trudge the Road of Happy Destiny.

May God bless you and keep you—until then.

February 21, 2013

Drink Responsibly

Such an oxymoron! Well, at least for me LOL! Every time I hear that expression I wonder if people are actually able to drink responsibly. I suppose the normies are. And for a long time I tried to drink responsibly and I was some what successful at it. I would ration my drinks, I would have few before I went out so I wouldn't have to drink too many at the bar, so I wouldn't get drunk. I always had a cut off time on weekdays, it was 10pm, but after few drinks it always got pushed a bit...to 11 or 12. I only drank wine. I didn't mix alcohol either, even if I was drinking white wine I always continued with the white. For a long time I though I could control the alcohol! I mean me powerless over alcohol?

I. Don't. Think. So!

But it become a viscous cycle, I would spend few days controlling my drinking and then satisfied with my "experiment," I felt that it was OK and I would drink a little more and then a little more and then who knows. Then after an out of control drunk episode I would swear it off for ever and stop drinking. But after a few days sober and feeling pretty good, I was again satisfied with that experiment, (cause I didn't drink so I am not an alcoholic), and I would decide that it was OK to drink again. In my late drinking those periods of controlling and sobriety become shorter and shorter and by the end of my drinking, I didn't see any point in trying to control it; by then I knew what the eventual outcome was going to be, every time.

AA Big Book, Chapter 11, pg 151.
Early in sobriety my sponsor would say to me, if you don't drink you can't get drunk. I thought blah blah blah. Whatever, it's not that easy. But in fact, it is that easy. It is the decision before I take a drink. I have power to choose not to drink. I am only powerless over alcohol when I put it in my body. Now, If I don't drink I can't get drunk!

So drink responsibly, those who can! I have experimented with this idea for four years. My experiment has been concluded! Sober wins!

February 19, 2013

I Am Powerless Over People, Places and Things

I have been thinking about my "friend,” who I have written about in The Odds Are Against US and who really is a family member. He is back to doing heroin after about a month of clean time. My heart is filled with fear that he will die before he can get any help and he does not want any help. He is at the point of absolute anger and denial.

This is beyond my knowledge base. I have never been on the other end of the alcoholism/addiction battle. I mean I have helped few sponsees and some new comers but not a family member. And I have never dealt with drugs or heroin abuse. I am a strict alcoholic, never got into drugs. Weird , I know, but I think it was because my dad frowned on drugs so much, but drinking was always OK ;) Anyway, I understand the merry- go-round of addiction! I can relate to the pain and hopelessness. I can relate to not wanting to get sober! I can relate to pushing everyone away. I CAN RELATE.
But sitting and waiting is just ...well, I have no words for it! We actually concluded that if he got arrested it might be the best thing for him; it might save his life. Strange. Wishing he ended up in jail seemed hopeful! To a normie that would sound absurd right. Well not if it can save a life!

The whole family is worried and no one really knows what to do. What can we do? His dad seems to be harboring him at his house, and doing nothing about him shooting up all day. What? Is he insane? Is he protecting him? Is he enabling him? Is he getting high with him? I can not understand.

I feel so powerless. I know no one gets sober until they are ready. I know that no matter what we do it is up to him to get clean. I know that he has his own journey, his own Higher Power, and his own time. He is just not ready to surrender yet. When he is ready, we will be waiting to offer our experience, strength and hope.  In the meantime, I have to “let go and let God” and embrace the fact that I am powerless over people, places and things, which includes the alcoholism/addiction of someone else.

February 17, 2013

Using Recovery Tools Can Help with Parenting

And here is the weird part, it sometimes feels like an out of body experience. If you knew the person I used to be when I was drinking, self-centered to the max, you would have a hard time believing my actions too. I was the person that would give her piece of mind at any moment, to anyone in her path, at any time, whether you wanted it or not. I was always ready to rumble; I even hang my middle finger out my drivers side window just in case you pissed me off! My saying was that I was a Scorpio and I sting deadly! Anyway, you get the point right?!

So my daughter has been having some issues with a her best friend and another girl that seems to be bulling her/them again. Her best friend was playing with the bulling girl who told my daughter that she couldn't join them. So my daughter got really mad at her BFF, and had a big outburst of tears and yelling and stomping and apparently it was so disruptive that a note was sent home from school about the incident and my daughter's unacceptable behavior.

Of course my mind went in overdrive and I was ready to "rumble." I immediately wanted to drive over the bulling girls house and share a piece of my mind with her parents! Then I wanted to drive to the BFFs house and do the same!  And I was so ready to call the school and give them a piece of my mind! And then I wanted to tell my daughter.... well stuff that no one should ever hear! But instead...

I first did nothing. I waited. I sorted my feelings.
I was to sit quietly when in doubt, asking only for direction and strength to meet my problems as He would have me. " - BB. Pg. 13
Then, I thought about the bulling girl, and decided to take a moment for her.
We asked God to help us show them the same tolerance, pity, and patience that we would cheerfully grant a sick friend.  - BB. Pg. 67
Then, I sat my daughter down calmly. We talked about what happened and she could do differently next time. I also told her that the most important thing for her was to do the next right thing! I told her that the bullying girl is probably hurting and she should not be hated. And I told my daughter that it would be a good ideal to make an amends and we called the BFF and my daughter apologized for her behavior.

So when my daughter hugged me after the phone call and thanked me, I thought, wow, what has just happened. This was not of my own doing for sure! Sobriety, AA and HP! It is truly hard for me to fit this in my head, how someone like the person I was, could now be sober and able to find compassion, understanding and love, let alone try to teach my daughter the same. What a gift, I have to pinch myself sometimes, just to make sure that this really is my life now.
Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these Steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs. - AA, 12 Step

February 15, 2013

AA Step Six - Were Entirely Ready

AA Step Six - Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.

How do I complete this step, when my higher power maybe the group, the program, or a tree? Or just faith! I struggled with this step in the beginning because I do not have a defined Higher Power that is a God of any religion, so it is hard to ask “God” for help. But, I have learned that the willingness to be humble and willing can come from any concept or any other idea that takes into account the fact that I am not in charge and that there is a larger, greater being than myself.
So in Step 6 I ask, do I really want to give up my character defects? After all, some of them have been around so long, they are like old friends. They have been comfortable. So I need to ask my HP to help me, to let me be willing, so I can let go of these defects. Here is a list of my character defects:
  1. Resentment
  2. Egotism
  3. Fear
  4. Self-justification 
  5. Self-pity
  6. Gossip
  7. Impatience
Resentments are of course number one! Ha, why do I get angry at people and carry that anger without them even knowing it! LOL! "It's like drinking poison and hoping that the other person will die." - my sponsor says. And the ego follows closely after, which I have to keep in a constant check. And how about self-justification?
"Self-righteous anger also can be very enjoyable. In a perverse way we can actually take satisfaction from the fact that many people annoy us, for it brings a comfortable feeling of superiority." – AA 12 and 12, Step Six, pg. 67.   
Certainly, self-pity is in a pretty high ranking! I sometimes like the feeling of being a victim and I do not want to give it up. I enjoy staying in that victim role for a while, so I can get all the attention! Unfortunately this one also brings me back to resenting the people that pity me. ugh.
SO, when I finally become willing to abandon all or some, of these old behaviors and ideas, and the habits connected to them, I am entirely ready to have HP remove all these defects of character. I am ready to be open enough to recognize them, when they are happening and be able to change them. And the real work that brings about the actual change will always be up to me.
“But in no case He render us white as snow and keeps us that way without our cooperation. That is something we are supposed to be willing to work towards ourselves.” – AA 12 and 12, Step Six, pg. 65.
This step is continuous and it doesn't have to be done perfectly. As long as we are never saying "No, I will not let go of that!" we have a chance to get rid of the character defects that rule and dominate our lives.

February 13, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day Sober

Well yeah, I mean Valentine's day, but I like calling it "V" day! I actually heard someone calling it V day in a quite negative connotation. :/ And I totally feel ya if this is not your favorite holiday; it can be a lonely day for many, especially if you're in the midst of your alcoholic hell as I was for many Valentine's days of the past. When I was drinking I seriously though that I would probably die drunk and alone. But after years of loneliness, I found sobriety and everything changed in my life. I no longer feel lonely. 

So, I was thinking that the V could be quite positive, it could actually stand for how I feel today:
Victorious - the way I feel every 24h I stay sober
Vibrant - the way I feel when I take care of my kids sober
Vivid - the way I feel when I wake up sober
Valuable - the way I feel about myself sober 
What does your V stand for? 

February 11, 2013

There’s A Hole In My Sidewalk

CHAPTER ONE: I walk down a street and there’s a big hole. I don’t see it and fall into it. It’s dark and hopeless and it takes me a long time to find my way out. It’s not my fault!

CHAPTER TWO: I walk down the same street. There’s a big hole and I can see it, but I still fall in. It’s dark and hopeless and it takes me a long time to get out. It’s still not my fault.

CHAPTER THREE: I walk down the same street. There’s a big hole. I can see it, but I still fall in. It’s become a habit. But I keep my eyes open and get out immediately. It is my fault.

CHAPTER FOUR:I walk down the same street. There’s a big hole. And I walk around it.

CHAPTER FIVE: I walk down a different street.

Portia Nelson

I love this little story. I heard it first when I spent a week "drying out" at the local psychiatric hospital. A little old man with a deep but soft voice read it. It was the first time I realized that I can maybe take a different path in life but it took me several more years to actually take it. Change is hard when you don't see what you need to change and I was in a great amount of denial about my drinking.

The Recovering Person's Guide to Relapse Prevention
I fell into the hole many, many times before I realized that I could just walk down a different street. I was so determined to find a way to not fall in the hole. That was my drinking cycle; I desperately wanted to figure out how to drink without getting totally obliterated, or loosing everything. But stopping drinking did not even enter my mind as an option until I was in so much pain that change seemed like the only option.

Today, I try to apply this thinking to my daily life. I don't so much try to figure things out or ponder about all the reasons why. Now that I am sober I can make sound decisions and I have many choices. I don't have to battle everything and everyone. I don't have to climb the ladder or find all the solutions to all the problems.

All I have to do is stay open minded enough to see when I just need to walk down a different street.

February 1, 2013

More About Alcoholism, AA, Big Book, Chapter 3

I stumbled upon an interesting blog last night. The title of this blog would suggest that the person was very aware of his alcoholism; it caught my eye for that reason alone. But as I started reading the posts, it become clear to me, that the struggles of this alcoholic were all based on his attempts to control his drinking. That was his struggle! Not getting sober, not trying to stay sober, and not living sober. He had no desire to quit; he just wanted to stay within some limits of "normal" drinking. He was very proud of his methods and stated several times that he was very successful and his methods worked really well. And when they did not , which did happen several times, he just found new, better ways!

Big Book, Chapter 3
I got a good chuckle out of some of his methods of counting, measuring and sneaking alcohol, all in his attempt to control his drinking. My first though was, wow he has been blogging about this since 2009 and still has not found the exact way to control his drinking! 
But I wasn't laughing at him at all, I was remembering my own struggles. I have totally been there!  I so badly, just wanted to learn how to drink like a lady! I would go to ANY lengths to figure out a way to control my drinking that worked! And it sometimes worked, giving me a confirmation (now I know it was a false confirmation) that I was not an alcoholic. But most of the time it didn't work, and I was off to the races, slobbery drunk and in a blackouts. What happened? - I wondered. I did the same exact thing the last 3 times I drank, why didn't it work this time? I must try another way!  This went on 6 years for me! For six years I was trying to drink like a lady and I miserably failed! I tried every method I could think of, and read about, and heard about, and nothing ever worked for an extended period of time.  
Then, when decided that maybe I should just stop drinking… I started to read the AA Big Book, looking for answers. (Or at least learn how to drink like a lady! LOL.) I read this on page 30: "This is the first step to recovery. The delusion that we are like other people, or presently may be, has to be smashed."
Has to be smashed! – yep has to! For me there is all or nothing when it comes to drinking. And I already know what happens when I drink! Lol! CRAZINESS is what happens!!!

So sober I am, another 24h, and wishing him all the best.