Archive for August, 2012

As I write this I am two months short of six years sober!  The old adage “one day at a time” is so important to remember.  When I was first starting out it seemed overwhelming to think about not drinking for the rest of my life.  It is just too much to comprehend because we are talking about giving up an old friend in alcohol.

The only way to do time is to do time, one day at a time.  Wake up, go through your routines, and before you know it you have another day….and then another….and time adds up.

Speaking of routines, I’m a big believer that alcoholics need to establish routines.  When I was first starting out, I wrote out a schedule that I had to follow.  Idle time is not good for this alcoholic; I stay as busy as possible so that my mind does not have the time to think about alcohol.  It seems silly to write that, but the truth is, the busier I am the better.

After awhile, you reach the point, almost miraculously, where you don’t even think about alcohol, and that is a great moment for an alcoholic.

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Who has been harmed because of your alcoholism?  This is not a disease that limits the damage to the alcoholic!  Oh no, we alcoholics go through life like a tornado, destroying everything in our path.

So I ask you again:  who has been harmed because of your alcoholism?  What kinds of harm are there?  Well, the main ones are physical, mental, emotional….anything else?  I had a sponsee once who told me he hadn’t harmed anyone during his 20 years of drinking.  Really?  Really?  How about yourself for starters?

During my drinking days I hurt family, friends, co-workers, students….and myself!

The wreckage stretched far and wide, and no matter how hard I tried to deny it, the wreckage was there nonetheless.

None of us live in a vacuum!  We need to realize the damage we do when we selfishly continue to slowly kill ourselves with alcohol.  Our actions have consequences!

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You keep doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results.  It will be different this time.  I’ll drink like a normal person this time.  If I just monitor my drinking a little better then things will work out this time.

The definition of insanity certainly applies to alcoholics.  We keep trying to find the perfect solution to our drinking woes.  Drink only beer….drink only on weekdays….never drink alone.  And always we fail, and the reason we fail is because….are you ready for this….we are alcoholics!

We cannot magically change our dependence on alcohol; we cannot alter the way we drink and hope for different results.  The only solution is to stop drinking and adopt a spiritual way of life.  Period!

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Sobriety is a life-long commitment.  If you are looking for an easy fix, you have a long wait.  If you are looking for a magic elixir that will ease the pain, you will never find it.

The last paragraph in the first chapter of the “Twelve By Twelve,” states, and I paraphrase, that when we finally hit bottom we will come to AA with a willingness to listen that only the dying have.

That is how it was for this man.  I needed to realize that I would die if I did not change; only then was I willing to listen to what AA had to offer, and only then was I willing to do the work necessary to affect change.

There is a solution, and the solution will only work if you are willing to change your life and accept the spiritual principles of a better life.

Life is good for this man, and it can be good for you as well, but you must be willing to go to any lengths to change.

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Locked in a prison of our own making, the alcoholic has lost hope. There seems to be no way out, and giving up is a viable option…or so it seems.

What can you believe in?  When there is no hope, what can you grab hold of?  Everything you have tried has failed.  You want to quit drinking but nothing you do is working!

Upon entering Alcoholics Anonymous, we are told that we need to believe in a power greater than ourselves.  Some call that power God; some find it in some other form.  The important point, however, is that the alcoholic realize that he/she is not the center of the universe.  In coming to this realization, one is able to reach out and find help.

By relinquishing control we find freedom.  In a very real sense, by giving up we gain power!

An alcoholic cannot find freedom from addiction by themselves; it is too great a task and they are doomed to failure should they try.

There is a solution!  The question, then, is are you willing to go to any lengths to find freedom and happiness?

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I recently received an email from a concerned lady.  She has a boyfriend who is an alcoholic, and she is understandably concerned and wanted some advice.  Her boyfriend has erratic behavior when he drinks, which is quite often, and he has several DUI’s.  She wanted to know what she should do.

I told her, and I would tell any loved one, that it is up to the alcoholic to make things right.  All she can do is love him and express that love, but she also has to realize that her number one priority has to be herself and her safety.

Alcoholics are capable of wreaking havoc not only in their lives, but the lives of those around them.  Until they want to quit drinking, they should never be enabled.  They are choosing to continue their destructive behavior but that does not mean they should be allowed to destroy the lives of those who love them.

Remember:  if you are the loved one of an alcoholic, your first responsibility is to yourself.  You cannot fix an alcoholic, and all the love and enabling in the world is not going to make things better.

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“Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being, the exact nature of our wrongs.”

The 5th Step of Alcoholics Anonymous


This is where the rubber meets the road in AA!  This writer has seen quite a few alcoholics give up the program because of this step.  Who in their right mind wants to sit down with another human being and list, in detail, all of the wrongs that they have done?

Let’s face it, during our drinking career, our morals were pretty lax.  Our behavior was quite often out of control and we did some pretty horrendous stuff.  Now we are being asked to admit to all of it?

This is a huge step towards humility and recovery, and once this step has been taken, a huge sense of relief will be felt, as though a thousand pound boulder has been removed from your shoulders.

There is freedom and there is a solution!

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The last drunk, six years ago!

“Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.”

Step Four of the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous

Yes, we have made a mess of things during our drinking career.  We have hurt others.  Oh, how we have hurt others.  We have hurt ourselves.  Oh, how we have hurt ourselves.

Step Four requires us to make a list, and for most of us it is not a pretty list.  We need to write down all of the people we have hurt.  We need to write down all of our wrongdoings.  We need to write down all of our resentments and all of our moral shortcomings.

When faced with such a list, many shrink back into the bottle.  Many, however, with the help of a sponsor, write the list, face the truths in the list, and take another step towards freedom.

It can be done!  It requires willingness, a willingness to do everything necessary to change our lives.

There is a solution!

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I just read the most remarkable article written by a friend of mine.  You can read it here  http://kdubarry03.hubpages.com/hub/Coming-Out-as-Lesbian-Gay-Bisexual

In it, Keith talks about admitting that he is gay, and how difficult it is to do so.

I am reminded of something I learned a long time ago in AA.  We are only as sick as our secrets.  Once we have admitted that we are alcoholic and that we are powerless over alcohol, a great weight is lifted off of our shoulders.  It is a moment of freedom for most of us because at that moment we are declaring that we are alright being who we are.  We are acknowledging that we are human and as such we have frailties, and that there is no reason to be ashamed.

Sobriety is about freedom!  Sobriety is about truth!  Sobriety is about loving ourselves and doing everything in our power to live a happy life without the aid of alcohol.

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“The alcoholic is like a tornado roaring his way through the lives of others.  Hearts are broken.  Sweet relationships are dead.  Affections have been uprooted.  Selfish and inconsiderate habits have kept the home in turmoil.  We feel a man is unthinking when he says that sobriety is enough.”

Page 82 of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous


The point being that stopping the drink is not enough to repair the damage done.  To expect families to just forgive and forget, simply because the alcoholic has stopped drinking, is foolishness to the extreme.  Amends have to be made and they need to be made in a heartfelt manner.  Some amends may not be accepted and that is as it should be.

Living a daily life of sobriety means living by spiritual principles.  It is a lifelong process.  It basically means that besides talking the talk you have to walk the walk.  Then, and only then, will repairs be made and trust be restored.

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