Archive for the ‘Recovery’ Category

I Am Enough

Posted: September 19, 2015 in Growing, Recovery
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I got my cards read a few weeks ago. I had never done it because I’m skeptical of stuff like that and not really wanting to know what the future holds, One Day At A Time, right? But I already was at this holistic event with a friend who was going to do it and I thought, what the heck!

I sat next to her and the card reader to hear the reading. My friend thought she was very accurate and then it was my turn. The card reader asked me to cut the deck of cards while thinking of the question I wanted some answers to and then she started to place the cards on the table.

She told me that as long as I keep putting other people first, I’m never going to be completely happy. As an alcoholic, I thought I had always put myself first. When I thought about it some more, I realized that I tend to morph myself into the person I think other people need me to be in order to attract them and keep them by my side.

It’s an old fear of mine, “if you only truly knew me, you wouldn’t like me.” So my tendency is to try to “read” what the person or people in front of me need and try to become that. There are a couple of problems with that though.

By transforming myself into what I thought other people needed me to be, I never allowed other people to truly know who I am. Another problem is that even though I was pretty good at “sensing” what other people needed, I was never one hundred percent accurate.

Being raised by addicts, alcoholics, and people with mental illnesses will make you believe that you have to be everything to everybody. It will also make you try to control every little thing so that you can control the outcome but it doesn’t really work; and when it does, you end up exhausted.

Recovery has allowed me to be my authentic self. It reminds me that I am powerless over pretty much everything except most times my response to a situation. I have learned that I am not responsible for other people’s behaviors and that I don’t have to “fix” or “rescue” people. I have enough working on myself.

Today, I am enough. I am loved. I am loving. I am lovable. Just as I am.

Good Bye

Posted: July 19, 2015 in Grief, Recovery
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A friend of mine will be removed from life support today. His family has decided that after 19 days he has had enough. I think that’s what he would want too, he expressed as much in some of the conversations we’ve had in the past.

My friend has been on a medically induced coma since the beginning of this month. I took him to the emergency room on a Tuesday when he missed his CT scan appointment. He had been diagnosed with lymphoma the previous Friday. I was trying to help him as much as I could until that day when I found a meth pipe in his room.

I wasn’t even looking, I was retrieving some dishes that he had not been able to take to the kitchen and there it was, the proof that he had been on active addiction. I had suspected for a while that he was using but I didn’t have proof.

So I told him that he could either go to the emergency room or to treatment but that I could not allow him to remain under those conditions anymore. He chose to go the ER and got admitted immediately where he got diagnosed with pneumonia.

I didn’t have much hope that he was going to make it out of the hospital because he had to overcome the pneumonia and then get treatment for lymphoma. All of this makes me sad. This was all preventable but he neglected his health. He thought that if he ignored what was making him ill, it would go away but it rarely does.

He was a proud person, unable to ask for help. He wanted people to come to his rescue. I told him many times that I used to be like him, wanting people to read my mind and anticipate my every need. I learned in recovery that if I want to stay sober, I can save my face or my ass but not both at the same time.

That has been one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned. I must allow people to be of service and not rob them of that blessing. That’s how I must I think of it so that it’s easier for me to ask for help.

Today I get to go to the hospital to pay my respects to his family and say good bye to him. There by the grace of God go I…

Father’s Day

Posted: June 21, 2015 in Forgiveness, Recovery
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I hate Father’s day because I feel like I have to call my father and wish him a happy Father’s day. And in my mind, doing this would somehow imply that he was a good father to me. And he wasn’t.

My parents divorced when I was three years old but lived together until my mother remarried. I was eight by then. My mom left their home and I went to live with my maternal grandmother for a while.

I don’t remember him ever making an effort to see me. I would visit him every Sunday to get some money. There were many times that he would not be home. There were many times when I knew he was home, passed out drunk, and not open the door.

He promised me he would help me financially until I graduated from college but he didn’t. In fact, he hid the acceptance letter  that was sen to me from my number one school choice. I found the letter when I was helping him clean his place.

I was perplexed. I could not understand why he would do such a thing. He told me he was afraid I would reject him as my father if I went to that school. This made sense to me but it did not help me feel less betrayed.

I lost touched with him when he moved away. On a rare occasion when I visited him, one of his friends told me that I was a terrible son because I would not call him more often. I told his friend, “You know, phones work both ways.” My father only managed to tell his friend, “Stop. It’s okay.”

Many years have passed since then and I’m still the one who has to go see him or call him but thanks to my program of recovery I can see that he is doing the best he can with what he has. The only memory I have of his father is seeing him passed out drunk on the street. My father lost his mother when he was very young. I cannot imagine what his childhood was like.

So ended up calling him. I wished him a happy Father’s day. We chatted for a bit and then hanged up. And I feel better for it.


Posted: May 3, 2015 in Gratitude, Happiness, Recovery

I’ve gotten into the habit of waking up at 5 am, or earlier, if I cannot convince my doggies to let me sleep in. I get up, feed them, and then head to the gym or get on the treadmill, but on the weekends the gym does not open until 8 a.m. so I’ve started going to the coffee shop near me.

I take my mail and my iPad in the hope that I can I write a blog post. I usually have something in my mind that I can talk about, but today I cannot think of anything. I guess I could whine about not having a significant other but what good is that going to do me?

So I guess I’ll reflect on how good it is that I don’t have anything to write about. Before recovery I would’ve engaged in “the deliberate fabrication of misery…” but now that I’m aware that’s what I was doing, I catch myself, and stop to give thanks for all the good I have in my life.

No, I have not become a “spiritual giant.” I still crave shiny, bright things like the new Apple watch but I guess I’ll wait to get it until I have a good reason to get it, like my upcoming birthday. I guess I’ve gotten down from the hedonic treadmill of “never enough.”

And I haven’t settled either, I have goals and desire to better my life but I now realize that while money can bring comfort and security, it does not bring lasting happiness. Happiness is a practice. If I practice being grateful for what I have in my life instead of focusing for what I’m lacking, I feel happy.

There’s still that thought in the back of my mind that says, “the other shoe is about to drop, you better not get too happy.” I’ve had many losses and my worst fear became true when I found myself alone but like Robert Frost said, “In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on.”


Posted: August 13, 2013 in Recovery
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I took a friend to see if he could go into residential treatment yesterday morning. He didn’t get in because they didn’t have any beds available at this place where they take patients with dual diagnosis. He then asked me to take him to a state funded facility.

Once there, he hesitated to stay. My friend’s roommate unsuccessfully tried to convince him to give this place a chance. The more my friend hesitated, the more his roommate pushed him to stay.

I tried to answer my friend’s questions without pressuring him. I did tell him that if he wanted to get sober, it didn’t matter much where he went. He decided not to stay.

I don’t believe in pushing people to do something against their will. It may be because the more somebody tries to persuade me, the less inclined I feel to do it. It feels like manipulation to me.

Later that day, my friend asked me if I could take him to the state funded facility again. I agreed.

My friend and I were on our way to rehab at 5:30 this morning. I stayed with him until I had to leave. My first impulse was to cancel what I had to do to keep him company but something told me not to do it.

Something told me that if he were to get into treatment with no babysitter to push him, it would be a more valuable experience for him.

I don’t know if my friend is going to “make” it this time around. I do know that by being there for him, I was reminded of how things got and how they could get if I were to relapse.

“There, but for the grace of God, go I.”

Giving Back

Posted: May 15, 2013 in Hope, Recovery
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Little over three months ago, I committed to teaching a Math class for people who are trying to get their GED. Tomorrow is the last class with this group.

At first I was scared to get in front of them.  I pushed myself to volunteer so that I could get used to being around “normies” again. I have not had a paid position for a while now.
I have been leading meetings at my home group, taking meetings to rehab facilities, and held a service position but nothing outside the recovery world.
I was relieved to see that my brain has not suffered much damage from all the abuse I put it through. I was glad that I was able to communicate, engage and motivate them to learn.
On one occasion, a fifty-year-old lady came up to me after class to tell me that Jesus had sent me to help her learn Math. She was happy that I was able to teach her in a way she understood.
In giving back, I have received a boost in my self-esteem by feeling like a valuable member of society. Like they say in meetings, “If you want to build self-esteem, do estimable things.”
I now feel ready to go back to work. I now feel strong enough as I no longer have to take naps to make it through the day. Little by little my energy has come back to a “normal” level.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that if you keep showing up in  life, things do get better, at least that has been my experience.
My life is different from when I got sober. I’m single now, both my mother and my step-father died, but all through the losses I have kept working my program of recovery.
I had to redefine what a good day is to mean staying clean and sober for one 24-hour period. The rest is up to my Higher Power, who I choose to call God.
No, I don’t wait for God to do for me what I can do for myself. And I don’t expect God to give me everything I want. All I have been promised is the ability to keep going even though sometimes I feel like I can’t.
May you be happy. May you find true love. May you have a long life.

A Real Meal

Posted: April 16, 2013 in Grace, Gratitude, Recovery

A few days ago, a friend came to my place with a guy who had just left residential treatment. This was his first outing in “the real world.”

I told them that I was hungry and asked them to join me for lunch. I proceeded to cook some burgers. It was a very ordinary meal.

We finished our burgers. We watched some YouTube videos. We talked a little about recovery and then decided to go to a 6 p.m. meeting at my home group.

During the meeting, the guy that my friend had brought to my place shared about moving to a transitional house after completing 45 days in rehab. He expressed how grateful he was to be sober.

He also said that he had just enjoyed a wonderful lunch, “a real meal,” he called it. He seemed happy to be alive and sober. His words made my eyes moist with tears.

I had always thought of hamburgers as something you ate when you where starving and wanted something quick and simple to eat, not a “real meal.”

This reminded me how fortunate I am that I can pretty much eat anything I want when I want to. I enjoy freedoms that many people don’t.

Like the freedom to stay sober contingent on maintaining my spiritual condition on a 24-hour basis. I am convinced that I am not cured of alcoholism/addiction but that my disease is merely on remission.

May you be happy. May you find true love. May you have a long life.