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Intentions

October 30, 2013 12:55 pm Leave your thoughts

Intentions

I really had no ideas what my intentions were with anything before I got into recovery.

Well actually I was usually aware of exactly what they were and I really could care less about them. I knew that there were things that I wanted and I was going to do pretty much anything that I could to get them and it did not matter who I would have to fury to get them. I thought that there was nothing wrong with this because I was getting what I “deserved” and that it had always been coming to me.

Sometimes I look back on my past and the things that I did to people for personal gain and I am so ashamed of myself. That is part of the recovery process and I have made a list and I have made amends to those people.

My first sponsor would ask me about my intentions with everything I was doing in my very early recovery. I would hate having to explain myself to him and the thinking that was going on behind the scenes of my mind. Maybe it was because I knew that many of these intentions were coming from a place of selfishness and I didn’t want to admit it. I really did not like the self-examination that this was entailing.

I had a relationship with a girl in early sobriety… (I know, I was not supposed to have a relationship in early sobriety) and my sponsor was not the kind of person that was going to tell me that I could or could-not do something. He was more of a suggestion kind of sponsor. He asked my to examine my intentions with this girl. What was the reason that I was wanting to get into a relationship with this girl. Was there a reason that I wanted to do it at that very second when there were so many other things that I needed to be focused on.

I had a tendency of doing that. Distracting myself with other things to get out of doing real work during my early sobriety.  I felt that it was so much better of an idea to just not feel the feelings and substitute them with something else.

Does this sound familiar to anyone?

My sponsor… knowing this, wanted me to examine the intentions behind my decisions. Of course I did not want to really look at them but because he kept drilling this idea into my head it has stuck with me. Now I find myself examining the reasons behind my decisions much more often.

There are many things that you learn in recovery. You learn about being of service to others. You learn about learning to live on life terms. There are so many valuable things that I have learned but I can say that examining my intentions has been one of the most valuable.

What is the most valuable lesson that you have learned in recovery?

I’m Not Drinking Tonight

October 26, 2013 8:02 am Leave your thoughts

What do you say when someone asks you if you want a drink or a drug?

When I was in early sobriety this was something that was constantly on my mind because I never had to deal with it before.  I came from a life that was not only surrounded by alcohol but it basically ran through my blood. (Actually, it did run through my veins).

The feeling that I would get when someone would ask me if I wanted a drink was one of relief and elation that I would feel from the top of my head to the bottom of my feet. Do you remember that feeling where you could feel the sensation just ripple throughout your whole body?  I would look forward to someone buying me a drink because I wanted that feeling of common purpose.

Now that we are in recovery…. how do we approach this same situation? What do we do that can not make us feel out of place? Sometimes I just didn’t want to bring attention to myself because to me it really was not anyone else’s business.

In the beginning I had this whole explanation that I would give to people when they asked me if I wanted a drink or wanted to go out with them.

“No, I’m sorry. I don’t drink.” This would always be followed up by a question about why I didn’t drink and the inevitable telling of a story that I really did not want to tell.  Some people would give me these dirty looks of utter amazement when they heard the answer. It’s funny, because just a few years earlier I was the one that was giving people those dirty looks.

I remember how stressful that this was to me when I was in early sobriety. Just the thought of having to explain myself to someone because I felt that I owed the world an explanation of why I was not part of the party.  Friends of mine that are new to recovery always ask me about how I cope with this even now. Its really pretty simple now.

” Thanks for the invite but I’m not drinking tonight”…… thats all that I have to say. If someone has an issue with it they are not someone that I need to be hanging out with anyway. I never really thought that it could be that simple but when it all came down to it.. it was.

When I gave people this response… pretty much everyone was cool with it.. and the people who are not ok with it that was a pretty good indication that I should not be hang out with them.

Quotes

October 18, 2013 3:06 pm Leave your thoughts

Hey everyone.

I am going to start a new section of the blog that is just dedicated to amazing inspirational quotes that I come across. There are mantras that I keep very close to my heart that help me so very much. I have a bunch of quotes that hang right around my bed and they always remind me of where my head needs to be when I wake up…. and that place is in gratitude.

I will share a little bit with you about what the quote means to me and hopefully it will stir something inside you.  That is what this blog is for really…. to stir up feeling in people.

When I am in gratitude everything else just falls into place. Here is my very first quote to share with you all.

 “Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.
And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears.
And how else can it be?
The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.
Is not the cup that hold your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter’s oven?
And is not the lute that soothes your spirit, the very wood that was hollowed with knives?
When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy.
When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.
Some of you say, “Joy is greater than sorrow,” and others say, “Nay, sorrow is the greater.”
But I say unto you, they are inseparable.”

– The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran

I heard this quote at the end of yoga about a week ago and I can’t stop thinking about it. It really opened something up in me that I always knew was there but really just didn’t know how to vocalize.  That is what these quotes do for me… they help vocalize things that my heart already knows but just did not know how to express.

How is it possible to know and feel the extent of joy if we have not gone through sorrow. We would have nothing to compare it to. This always makes me think of “This too shall pass” because I know that I can’t have one without the other.

My joy and my pain are cosmically connected like yin and yang.  My higher power gave me these painful experiences to help me appreciate my joy…. and I do appreciate my joy. The past and present sorrows just make is so much more vivid and meaningful.  I am grateful for my sorrow. I might now be at the moment that it is happening but I know that it is like exercise. I might not see the results immediately… but I will see them, I just have to be patient.

The Rewards of Relapse

October 17, 2013 5:43 am Leave your thoughts

crossroads

I have had a couple of people relapse around me over the last couple of weeks and it never is a good feeling to have to experience. All of the sorrow and worry that comes along with a dear friend falling off the face of the planet for a couple of days.. maybe even a week.

I know what you are thinking.. you are looking at the title of this post and you are asking yourself, “Why would he ever use the words rewards and relapse in the same title?”

I can only speak on my own experience and what I have seen happen to others when it comes to relapse. I had a relapse in my story and it happened right when i got out of the Beacon HouseSM the first time at beginning of February of 2008. I didn’t want to relapse but I think that I had it planned in my head during my first 28 days in treatment.

I was not convinced that I was an alcoholic. I knew that I had an issue with drinking and using but I thought that all of the self knowledge that I had gained over my stay at the Beacon HouseSM would serve me well when I got home. I just needed to know how to drink like a regular person. Now that I knew all of the real dangers that went along with my drinking there was no way that I would repeat what had happened before…. right?

I had to be convinced that I was an alcoholic. The relapse had to happen for me. It was the  touchstone for change. The change that would pick up and rearrange my life forever.

I have seen this happen to others too. I have also seen people die when they went out. So its not all sunshine and moonbeams after all. There is real danger out there and this disease is an equal opportunity destroyer.

Do you have relapse in your story? What effect has it had on your and your recovery?

Progress Not Perfection

October 11, 2013 10:16 am Leave your thoughts

Sometimes I just want to be perfect. Everyday has to be just amazing to be worth anything… Right?

I have a tendency to compare things to each other that have no business relating to each other. An example of this is how I felt at the end of each day, but how I quantify it is the real issue. What makes one day better then another? Does this really mean anything to me? Are my days off better then the days that I am scheduled to work?

I have great days off and I have some amazing co-workers that I love spending time with, so that’s not it. Somedays I go to yoga and then there are Somedays that I don’t have time to go. I wish that I could go everyday because it always makes me feel better. It makes me feel more in touch with my mind and body. It’s good work for me.

The outside voice in my head is not me. It’s not my consciousness speaking to me. Most of the time I think of it as the annoying roommate that I really am long overdue in kicking out of my house. This voice is telling me that I have to be better everyday and that if I am not then my day is a failure.

Thank God that I have the tools to know that this voice is full of it. I know that it’s all about progressing forward and that there are going to be days that I may take a step or two back… And that is ok. My life is built around progress and not perfection. I use that everyday because it reminds me that I am not perfect and that’s not the goal.

I am sober today and that is a miracle. I am an amazing expression that was almost completely extinguished a little over 5 years ago. Everyday is a bonus.

Progress… Not perfection. Amen to that.
How do you feel about that statement? Comment below!

I leave you with this quote from Martha Graham.

There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and there is only one of you in all time. This expression is unique, and if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium; and be lost. The world will not have it.

It is not your business to determine how good it is, not how it compares with other expression. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You have to keep open and aware directly to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open.

Slow Winners

October 6, 2013 9:16 am Leave your thoughts

“In recovery there are no losers, just slow winners.” link

 

I was looking around the internet over the past couple of days because sometimes i think that I have hit this wall and there is nothing else to write about. I know that that is a bunch of hogwash… because everyday is a new adventure in my recovery.

I came across this website because I have been looking for some really good daily meditations and readings that are sent out daily via email. When i was early in recovery I would get one everyday from Hazelden called the Daily Gift.  (Sidenote: If anyone has a really great daily email that they are getting… please comment on this post and tell us all about it! )

Sometimes I think that I need to be at a certain place in order for my recovery to be validated. Like I should be at another place.. a better place. I compare my life to the expectation that I have of what my life should be… never really thinking about what has gone on in the past and what I have done to get here.

The post that i came across really hit it right on the head…. I am exactly where I am supposed to be at this very moment. Knowing that has always kept me in the right place. I remember someone telling me that and I thought that they were just feeding me some stuff that they would give all newcomers… well it turned out that they were right. It was advice that they gave a lot of newcomers. Not because it wasn’t true but because it was a simple phrase that was so powerful.

No matter what is happening…. I am exactly where I am supposed to be.. right now. Sometimes I do not give myself enough credit. I have been through a lot… and I have become such a more complete person because of my recovery.

The excerpt from the post pretty much sums it up. I hope that everyone is good.

“Now that I’ve been in recovery a while I understand the wisdom in this week’s quote. It doesn’t matter what you’re going through in recovery or how you feel, the fact that you are in recovery, that you have a program, and that you’re developing or improving your conscious contact with a power greater than yourself means that you’ve already won. You may feel like a loser temporarily, but most of the time and in the long run you’ll live a life filled with the joys and miracles of recovery.”