Categories for Questions

Amazing Distractions. Are the worth it?

May 7, 2014 8:55 pm Leave your thoughts

IMG_5757

There is something that I have been wanting to talk with everyone about in this forum. It is something that was a very essential part of my early recovery and I wanted to give my experience to anyone that may need it.

What is this major topic that I want to talk about?

I want to talk about dating and romance in early sobriety and how it effected me.

When I got sober everyone who knew anything about sobriety told me that it was a very bad idea to get into a relationship with anyone during that time of your recovery. I listened to these people and I decided that I was going to do what I wanted to do. This was really the only thing that I did on my own.. something that I didn’t follow other peoples suggestions on. Of course it was something that I had to experience to get the full story of just how bad it was for me.

One of my first sponsors asked me a pretty simple question when I asked him if it was a good idea to get involved with anyone at about 3 months sober… He asked me to “examine my intentions” with the person. What was it that I wanted to get out of the relationship. Why was I entering into it?

I could not answer the question. All that I could say was that I was not entering into the relationship with any ill intentions. I knew that I didn’t want to hurt anyone.. but I could not answer his question.

I had a couple of different relationships in my first year of sobriety.

I can tell you right now that one of the major effects that it had on me was a distracting one. It distracted me from what it was that I should have been doing in the first place. I should have been listening to the experience of others and not getting into anything.

This was a perfect example of my “self will run riot”. I thought that I knew what was best for me in my early sobriety on certain subjects. I really thought that I knew everything about relationships even though I don’t think that I ever had a healthy one in my life with a female.

The moral to this story is that early sobriety is the time to get work done. I used woman as a distraction in my early sobriety. If you asked me if I regretted it I would tell you that I didn’t because I met some life long friends that I might not of ever would have met. I could have done without the distraction though.

I hope that this experience helps some people out there that have questions about it. I know that I did..

Accept the Addiction

January 24, 2014 10:38 am Leave your thoughts

LandsEndSunset-4381

It took me so long to actually accept that I was addicted to alcohol and drugs…. and pretty much anything else that you could be addicted to.

I am addicted to more.

When I was moving towards the end of my drinking I knew that something was not right with me but I did not want to admit what it truly was. I knew that something was different with me…. I acted differently towards alcohol and drugs then the people that I hung out with. I know now that there were a lot of people that hung out with me because they could compare themselves to me and say that they did not have a problem. They could compare themselves to me and not admit their own alcoholism.

There was a time after I had relapse when I really admitted to myself that I was an alcoholic… and that I did not have control over my own life and I never would. Something had to change. This was the moment that I had acceptance and I surrendered to my life.

I accepted the addiction and now it was time to change the behavior.

This was the much harder part for me because it was behavior that was entrenched with me…. it had been there for years and had served it purposes. I knew that it was not going to be helping me anymore… and I needed to shed it. I needed to change everything if I was going to survive this.

That is what I did.

Now.. almost 6 years later I have some issues with acceptance. They mostly come out when I am working. There are things that I can’t change and there are things that I can change. I need to remember that and know the difference chinesische viagra. Again.. here comes the serenity prayer.

What am I going to do today for myself? I am going to not try to practice acceptance and take my time.

What are you going to do for yourself lately?

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.

Foundation

September 3, 2013 10:25 am Leave your thoughts

Hello everyone.

What is the most important thing in your life right now? Is it your recovery or is it something else?

I have to admit that sometimes my sights are set on other things and my recovery takes a back seat. I have things that I place above my recovery when I find it convenient or when things in my life are going good. I know that I shouldn’t do this because I know that all that it takes is a momentary lapse… To drive me right back to drugs and alcohol.

I have seen people taken out over less.

My solid foundation is what what matters when the rubber hits the road. When life is happening … No matter good or bad, I have to remember that my recovery always has to come first.. Because without it my life would be nothing.

I have to tell on myself…. At a group level because it take the power out of it. If I keep it inside.. It can turn really bad. I guess this is telling on myself at a blog level!

That’s for being part of my recovery today everyone. Comment away!

One Word

July 10, 2013 9:24 am Leave your thoughts

I was thinking last night about the feelings that I was having when I finally surrendered and gave myself to this life of recovery. There were many different feelings that were going through my head. Some that I really can’t remember now but I know back then they were as vivid as any raw feeling that I had ever had before.

When I think of all of the different feelings they are characterized by streams of different words. It makes it hard to pick out individual words that really sum up almost everything that I was feeling in one word.

If you had to pick one word to describe your feelings…… at the end of your drinking and using… what would it be.

 

My word would be “desperation.”

I really like this definition for the word…

” loss of hope and surrender to despair

I first heard the term, “gift of desperation” when I first went into recovery. I remember hearing it and it hitting me like a ton of bricks. There are things that people say in meetings that you will always remember. My second sponsor had a book that he would write these things down in. He called them “nuggets.”

This was a nugget for me. I truly feel that my desperation was a gift to me. Something that brought me to my knees. I thought that there was no way out of the situation that I was in. I am glad that I was forced into recovery by my body and my mind.

What would your word be?

Hope?

To Tell… Or Not to Tell?

July 7, 2013 9:27 am Leave your thoughts

So last night I was driving down the road going to a meeting when I saw the familiar red and blue flashing lights of multiple police vehicles in front of me. They were stopped and they were preceded by a row of flares that was forcing me to go in the direction that they desired.

I was pulling into the very first sobriety checkpoint that I had ever driven into in my life. I know what you are saying… “Rich.. you are lying. You must have encountered a DUI checkpoint sometime during all of your alcoholic adventures… ”

Nope… I have never in my life been in or seen one… until now.

I pulled up to the officer and he explained what they were doing as he shined his flashlight at me and into my car. He asked my if I had been drinking …. and I got to say.

“No officer I have not had a drink tonight…. actually I have not had a drink since early 2008”

Then I told him that I was actually on my way to a midnight meeting… ironically. We talked briefly about the purpose of the DUI checkpoint and the effectiveness of this particular one… on this particular night. I thanked him, shook his hand and I was on my way to my meeting.

As I left I had the thought come into my head about alerting others to the DUI checkpoint’s location.. so that maybe they could avoid it. Then I had another thought about the reason that it was there in the first place. It was there to catch people that were under the influence of alcohol (or other intoxicants) and had made the decision to get behind the wheel of a car.

I thought about how the decision that I would make could have effect on others… it could be good and it could be bad. I thought about my views on people who choose to drive under the influence and put others lives at risk.

In the end… I did not alert anyone about the location and the activities of the police.

(I am writing this part of the post the day after…. after talking with someone close to me about my night. She suggested that she would let friends know about the DUI checkpoint as a deterrent… so that they would take a cab home instead of driving. It was a great different perspective that i wanted to share.)

My question to you is… would you have done the same?

Or would you have posted the existence of the DUI checkpoint on your favorite social media channel..

Another Day in Recovery

June 10, 2013 5:53 pm Leave your thoughts

I am back home in Southern California.

Right now I am sitting in the home that I grew up in and so many different memories are coming up for me. When I look at pictures on the wall I see myself in different times and in different places. I think about the way that I felt about life then and the thoughts of all of the amazing things that were going to happen for me in my future. Right now it is graduation time… and I am seeing all of the kids that are graduating from my former high school walking down the streets of the downtown district with their caps and gowns on. They are thinking the same thing that I was thinking back then.  Hot summer days that are full of sunscreen, summer clothes and unlimited optimism and potential for the future.

Last night I was having a talk with a family member about the circumstances that surrounded my drinking and using. We were discussing where and when the entire thing started. We talked about the night that I went into the hospital and what my family was feeling at that time. We talked about the things that I want to do in the future and where my heart’s direction really lies. It was a great conversation.

It is amazing to me the conversations that you can have with people when you choose to be open, honest and even vulnerable.

Was This All My Fault

Some people blame themselves for their family members drinking and using. I think that was what was happening in my family when they saw how truly far down that it could take me. Did my path down the long road of alcohol start when I was in high school or did it really progress when I was much older? I was asked that question last night by one of my family members.

“Was if my fault for letting you go out and hang out with your friends?  Was it my fault for not keeping a closer eye on you when you were out there with your friends?”

I can say that I had my first drink when I was in high school. That was the first time that I ever tasted alcohol but it did not have the same effect on me as it would years later. I tried to explain that the progression of the disease and how it was very evident in me. When I was in high school I was someone who was just trying to fit in and would do almost anything to accomplish that. Drinking was one of those things that I did to fit in. Toilet-papering my rival high school was also something that I would do to fit in. When I was drinking in high school all that I can really remember about it was not being in control and waking up in the back of my Chevy Blazer the next morning with a really big headache. The loss of control was very clear to me. It is funny, because later on that was one of my favorite parts of drinking and using. The notion of not being in total control and letting the chips “fall where they may” was very attractive to me.

Loss of control was something that I had never experienced before when I started my drinking in high school. Now, not having to really worry about the control, because I have given it up to my higher power, is something that I truly cherish.

The progression of my disease really kicked into a higher gear with the loss of my first major relationship. I had been with the same person from when I was 17 years old until I was just over 21. With the loss of that person from my life I think that I created this attitude of anger and resentment that resulted in me trying anything that I could get my hands on. Most people will experiment with using drugs and alcohol in excess when they are in college… I think that this happened for me at the end of my first relationship. I was not in school and I was in San Francisco, and that was a perfect breeding ground for my alcohol and drug addiction.

I told my family member that I don’t think that it had anything to do with her letting me hang out with my friends. I know that there are many aspects that go into how a human develops and there could of been something there that attributed to my disease but I believe deep in my heart that there was nothing that my family member did to accelerate my disease.

That Night in the Emergency Room

We talked about the night that I went into the Emergency Room at the hospital in Santa Barbara. I knew that I was pretty close to death and that the doctor had told my family that I was not expected to make it through the first night. What I had never experienced before was hearing it from my family members and really seeing the emotions that were on their faces as they retold it.

“The doctor came out and told us that you were probably not going to make it”

I had heard that before and I had retold that story to many people over the course of the last 5 years of my life, but I had never heard it come out of my family members mouth while watching their faces when they said it. It was truly heartbreaking to me. Tears were coming down my face for sure. I though that I had come to grips with how I had affected my family during that time but then I started to put myself into their shoes. How would I like it if I had just brought my brother into the ER for what I thought was “drinking too much”. Then after they had taken him away someone came out and told me that he would probably never open his eyes again and that he was likely to die. Unimaginable, that was the first thing that came across my mind. We were just at a family Christmas party and now we are in the waiting room of a hospital and I have just been told that my brother was going to die because he drank too much.

This really made the range of my emotions come to the surface and I am glad that I could hear how it made them feel.

What The Future May Hold

The last part of the conversation was about what the future was going to hold for me. What was I doing in my life and what was the direction that I was going to take? I can remember thinking about the things that truly set my heart on fire. There are feelings that I have experienced that are unlike any others that I have experienced. They are always having to do with something that takes place in recovery. I think that answering a phone call or a text message from someone that needs help is the most amazing feeling in the world. Taking someone to their first meeting and seeing them announce themselves as an alcoholic for the first time is a feeling that many never feel. I remember how it felt for me the first time that I announced myself and the relief that my heart felt after that moment. To see a friend do the same thing and then talk to them after about how it made them feel… is purely magical.

I have been working in customer service for a long time. It is what i am good at and it is what has paid the bills. I know that ultimately there is more that will happen with me. What that will entail and how it will manifest in the future is unknown. All I know is that if I want to do something in my life that I am passionate about… it is going to be in the recovery field.

Lots of good things have come up for me in the last couple of days and I am glad that I have the opportunity to share them with you.

Public Recovery

June 4, 2013 12:57 pm Leave your thoughts

I was reading through some recovery blogs that I follow and I came across this on a site called Recovery Reflections. I have added the entire text of the article below.

The worst story gets the most attention.

“You can’t recover in public. Addicts are good at faking it and will do what it takes to look good and be validated. To think that someone who has for years covered every emotion up with drugs or alcohol can then, all of a sudden, reveal their most hidden secrets publicly is dangerous and stupid. It is in the isolated room or office, one-on-one with a trusted friend or therapist that walls are shattered, trust is built and real growth in recovery occurs.

 

The reason that I wanted to bring this article into this forum is because I want to know how you feel about it…. how does this make you feel? Do you think that it is a true statement?

I think that part of the statement is true, and remember that I am not a counselor. There is a lot of amazing work that was done when I was one-on-one with my counselors. For me, true recovery started when I reached out to someone and made the decision that I was done and that I surrendered. For me I had to make that statement in a public forum. It was out loud to my family and to my friends.

I do understand what the post is saying though… addicts and alcoholics are really good at faking it and love the attention. I love the attention. There is a very fine line when it comes to truly asking for help and seeking attention.

Let me know what you think….