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Never Give Up. Ever.

November 25, 2013 7:48 am Leave your thoughts

 miracles

“One is too many… and a thousand are never enough”

 

I remember sitting in my mother’s NA meetings when I was really little and hearing that saying so many times and never ever understanding it. I kept thinking to my self… how could one be too many and a thousand never enough. Of course, I was thinking of Legos and Micro Machines…. how could a thousand be never enough.

Now I understand. That saying, like almost every other one that I have heard, is so very near and dear to my heart.

There are a couple of things that are on my mind today. The first thing is a concept that I learned at the Beacon HouseSM called… “Playing the tape foreword.” This is when you start thinking about drinking or using and you think of all of the short term rewards that you will gain from it….. and then thinking about all of the long-term horrible consequences that you will also gain from it.

Here is a good example of this…  a couple of days ago I was thinking about a bar that I use to go to at 6am. I was thinking about the feeling that came over me when I saw their big bright neon OPEN sign light up through the San Francisco fog as I walked up. It was so damn romantic in my head. I was thinking about having a nice warm cup of coffee full of Bailey’s Irish Creme and Jameson to start the day off right. In my head, all was well as Sportscenter was on the big screen TV and I was on Cloud Nine.

Here is where I “Played the Tape Forward”….. I started to think about what would happen after all of this fake romance had worn off…. 2 hours later.

I had proceeded to move to Budweiser and shots of Jameson. I am probably about 4 beers and 5 shots deep at this point. I have seen the same episode of Sportscenter three times because they play it over and over again in the morning. I have now put my hoodie hood over my head because it makes me feel more secure. I am REALLY hoping that no one else walks into the bar because they are going to try and talk to me. That would really suck. My mind is flashing to cocaine.. even though I have not done in a long time.. but it seems like a great idea now. Nope, scratch that because it is going to be way too much work to get it at this hour of the morning even though I could probably do it if I really wanted. Time to walk home to pass out. I won’t make it home and someone’s stoop is going to have to do.

That is how this tape is going to end up. I am going to end up hammered, passed out in someones stoop. It may not happen during this playing of the tape but I know that it is going to happen on one of these playings.  I know that is where I will end up if I choose to go in that direction. This will stretch into something so drastic and dire for my life that I have to be aware of it.

I know what it means when they say…. “One is too many and a thousand are never enough.” Somehow I find comfort in that.

Second thing that I want to talk about is a BIG congrats to 3 years of sobriety to a very very special friend of mine that I went through the Beacon HouseSM with. She is an amazing person that is celebrating in style today!

During your recovery there are people that really stand out to you as true survivors. This is one of those people to me. There were times when I had collected some time and this special person just kept falling…. but there was something that was inside of this person. Something that was not going to be denied because they had so many amazing things that were so important in their lives. I just knew that no matter what had happened.. that this person was going to be there basking in the sunlight of the spirt one day…. just like our friend Paul Major.  Every time that I see a post or an update from this person my heart is very warm.  So much love and respect go out to you friend.

Miracles happen each and every day. We are examples of this. Our gratitude lists are awesome.

 

Would Not Mix

November 21, 2013 10:15 am Leave your thoughts

blessings.

 

“We are average Americans. All sections of this country and many of its occupations are represented, as well as many political, economic, social, and reli­ gious backgrounds. We are people who normally would not mix. But there exists among us a fellowship, a friendliness, and an understanding which is inde­ scribably wonderful. We are like the passengers of a great liner the moment after rescue from shipwreck when camaraderie, joyousness and democracy pervade the vessel from steerage to Captain’s table. Unlike the feelings of the ship’s passengers, however, our joy in escape from disaster does not subside as we go our in­ dividual ways. The feeling of having shared in a com­ mon peril is one element in the powerful cement which binds us. But that in itself would never have held us together as we are now joined. ”

Page 19 of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous

 

This is one of my favorite passages in the Big Book. The reason that is holds such a special place in my heart is because I love people. I love being a part of and having a common bond with people. This is the ultimate common bond. Well maybe something like being in combat with someone is the ultimate bond. This is pretty damn close to combat. Actually being locked in a daily struggle for life and death with people that are close to you is pretty much combat.

One of the best parts of my life in recovery is being able to relate to people that I would maybe would have not related to before. I have the ability to get along with pretty much anyone. There are a few exceptions. When I meet someone who is in recovery or is in the program I have this automatic deep connection with them.

I think that it is because these are the people who have made the choice to hope. Even if some of them may not show it on the outside I think that there was a choice that was made somewhere deep inside their heart. That is something that few people will ever get to experience. Did you notice how I used the work “get” in the previous sentence? People “get” to make this choice. When I made the choice it felt more like I “had” to make the choice because the other choice was death. Later on I think that I started to think of it more as a choice that I “got” to make.

I want to be associated with the people who have made that choice to hope, even a little bit.

These are the people that are in the lifeboat from that sinking ship. There are those that chose to stay and go down with the ship. So many different people on the ship that I get to meet and bring into my life.

What do you think of when you read the passage above? What does it bring up for you?

But For The Grace…

November 16, 2013 1:54 pm Leave your thoughts

There are many things that I love.. and one of them is really great bread. At my work we have a fully stocked kitchen and it is one of the best perks of my job….. that and the free coffee. It is here that I discovered Dave’s Killer Bread.

Dave’s Killer Bread is pretty amazing because it is so good and it does not have any preservatives and has all kinds of nuts, grains and other good-for-you stuff. One day I was making myself some toast on one of my early morning shifts and I took some time to read the packaging for my favorite bread. I learned that Dave was an ex-con and an addict that had turned his life around while in prison. This bread had immediately moved into the upper-echilons of my heart because of my relationship to addicts and alcoholics. The main reason is that love to see people that have gone through what we have been through succeed.

I know that everyone loves a good underdog story of redemption so I am sure that is one of the reasons that Dave’s Killer Bread is getting so popular. It is also some pretty amazing bread so I am sure that also has something to do with it.

Yesterday, I saw that Dave had been involved in an incident in Portland in which he rammed his SUV into some police cars and sent some police officers to the hospital.

The reason that I am bringing this up is because those of us that involved in the recovery world know that this kind of thing is very possible for each and every one of use. Atleast I can say that this is very true for me.  When I hear, “but for the grace of God, go I”… I truly believe that it is a true statement. I am just as close to that kind of thing happening to me but it is because I have a daily reprieve from the mental obsession of my alcoholism that I am not there.

I have been reading a lot of the comments on Dave’s Killer Bread’s Facebook page right after the incident with Dave happened and I am seeing a lot of support for Dave. He has always been very public with his history of depression and drug abuse. He puts it out there for all to see and there are many people out there that find strength from it. They see that there is someone out there who went to prison and who is an addict that has come back from the brink.

The other thing that I know is that there are people out there that are saying to themselves…. “Well, Dave is a drug addict and isn’t that what drug addicts do? Start using drugs again and crash into police cars.”

There are people out there who have no faith and expect us to fail. There are people who see addiction and recovery as a weakness. I don’t see it that way. My recovery and addiction are one of my greatest strengths. They have made me who I am today and I know that for people like Dave they have made them who there are today also.

I just wanted to say to Dave… I am with you brother and I hope that you get the help that you need. Keep the faith and I will keep eating your delicious bread.

 

PS. In no way am I condoning getting in a car an ramming police vehicles. There is no excuse for trying to injure people… especially people who are out there to protect the public. I am just trying to say that as an addict I can see how events in ones life can lead to catastrophic events happening because of them. I am offering my support to a fellow addict. I also want to offer my support for those injured police officers.

No Matter What

November 11, 2013 9:39 am Leave your thoughts

I have been hearing around that what I am supposed to be doing in the month of November is doing a gratitude list every night. I have been failing at this because I always think that I am too busy.

Really I’m not. I just have to remember how important that it is that I do it. As I was doing my first gratitude list for the month of November.. (yes, its the 11th) I was thinking about an article that I read that was in The Guardian UK a couple of months ago from Russell Brand.  Talk about, “contempt prior to investigation”… I really could not stand this guy for a second. Everything that I had seen about this guy had led me to believe that he was the rich British rocker that had nothing to offer me.

When I found out that the guy was on the same team that I was on my perception immediately changed. I don’t know him personally but I got the same feeling that I get whenever I find out that someone that I don’t know is in the same battle that I am in. You are immediately comrades….

The way that he describes his use and the daily reprieve is pretty vivid and amazing. Here is an excerpt from the article. I think that it is pretty much perfect in the description of someone who is trying to get sober and forgets that all that they have is a daily reprieve from a chronic disease.

“A friend of mine’s brother cannot stop drinking. He gets a few months of sobriety and his inner beauty, with the obstacles of his horrible drunken behaviour pushed aside by the presence of a programme, begins to radiate. His family bask relieved, in the joy of their returned loved one, his life gathers momentum but then he somehow forgets the price of this freedom, returns to his old way of thinking, picks up a drink and Mr Hyde is back in the saddle. Once more his brother’s face is gaunt and hopeless. His family blame themselves and wonder what they could have done differently, racking their minds for a perfect sentiment; wrapped up in the perfect sentence, a magic bullet to sear right through the toxic fortress that has incarcerated the person they love and restore them to sanity. The fact is, though, that they can’t, the sufferer must, of course, be a willing participant in their own recovery. They must not pick up a drink or drug, one day at a time. Just don’t pick up, that’s all.”

 

Is it really that simple?

Don’t pick up a drink or drug no matter what… yep, its pretty much that simple. If I do not introduce a drink or a drug into my system then I have no chance of getting drunk.

Sometimes people ask me why am I such a good mood all of the time. I tell them thats what happens when you have been brought back from deaths door by a miracle. Sometimes they say that miracles aren’t real because they have never seen one happen to them or to someone they know. I just tell them to come into a meeting or into the Beacon HouseSM and they will be witness to so many that they will emerge from that space a believer in miracles.

 

 

Fearless and Searching

November 7, 2013 11:05 am Leave your thoughts

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What do you think of when you hear these words?

“Fearless and Searching Moral Inventory”

I remember the first time that I ever heard those words they scared me to death and I thought to myself that there was no way that I was going to write down all of my deep dark fears and resentments… let alone tell another human being about them. Then someone who I respected told me that the 4th step was the step that really decided if you wanted long-term sobriety. That is all that I wanted…. so I knew that it was something that I had to do.

When I came back to the Beacon HouseSM after my relapse I was open to every suggestion that anyone could give me because I really lacked that before. I was not open to others opinions so much especially if they did not directly benefit me.

What I want to do with this post is share some of the mistakes that I made with my 4th step in the hopes that some people that are reading this may not make the same mistakes that I made.

When I started my attempt with my first 4th Step I started to look at it as if I was trying to tell my life story so that is really what I did. I started to fill up notebooks of the drawn out pages and pages of stories and situations that had happened in my life. I was so far from what the 4th Step was in the book that it was comical. The reason that I was doing this was because of some guidance that I had gotten from one of my early sponsors… which was that we needed to reveal everything. I took this literally and tried to reveal EVERYTHING. What ended up happening was that I never felt like I had made any progress on my 4th Step. I always thought that there was more to write and so this ordeal went on for almost 8 months. I was getting jealous of people who had done their 4th Step on the back of a napkin.

I made the decision that I was going to switch sponsors and work my 4th Step right out of the book. This was one of the best decisions that I could have ever made for my recovery. I just kept it simple and did it as it was outlined in the book. Nothing more and nothing less. I also went online and downloaded some worksheets that really helped me organize my work.

Once I got done with my 4th Step.. (which only took a week this time) I was ready to move on to my 5th step with my sponsor. This was one of the best days that I have ever had in recovery because I had taken that step. I knew that I was dead serious about my recovery and this was the culmination of part of that commitment.

I will talk a little bit more about a sexual inventory in a later blog post. I think that it really needs its own post because it is a scary beast in its open right preis viagra schweiz.

If there is anything that I can say about my 4th step I think that I would say that it was something that should not be feared but should be look on as a signpost. It is a necessary signpost that we must pass by on the road to long-term recovery.

What was your experience with your 4th Step?