Archive for October, 2012

I often read something on Facebook or in someone’s blog about them being unhappy with their husband or wife, and how there are things that need to be changed with behaviors.  Seems there are quite a few people out there who feel the need to alter their spouses actions or little quirks.

I smile at that and shake my head!

If you are an alcoholic….or for that matter, if you are just a regular normal person without alcoholic tendencies, let me ask you why you feel the need to change your spouse?

Bev and I have known each other for five years now.  I know all of her quirks and mannerisms.  Hell, I’ve known them for quite some time, and she knows mine.  Despite them all, we love each other.  Why would I want to change the person I fell in love with?  Of course, if there were abuse then we are talking a whole different ball of wax, but seriously, snoring?  Talking when you are trying to read a book? Putting elbows on the table during a meal?  Are those the issues you really want to battle over?

Speaking at this moment as an alcoholic, I have my hands full taking care of myself.  My job, as a recovering alcoholic and as a human being, is to be responsible for my actions and accepting of the actions of others.  I am not the director of life and I do not get to choose how people act.

Wouldn’t it be lovely if everyone adopted that philosophy?

If you haven’t seen my video on alcoholism you can see it here!

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As Hurricane Sandy bears down on the east coast of the United States, let me tell you a few things I remember about my drinking days.  I would love to sugarcoat this, but there is nothing sugary about alcoholism.

When I was drinking, I could go through the motions and appear to care about everyone else.  I could say the right words, words of love and concern, empathy and compassion.  The truth, though, is that I was only concerned about where my next drink would come from.  I was so busy protecting my compulsion and my addiction that I really had no emotion to invest in the lives of other people.

I am reminded of that today, as a killer storm heads for my brothers and sisters. Today, sober, I can feel fear for those I call friends, and for those I do not know.  Today, sober, I have compassion for what they are going through, and today, sober, I can pray for them.

The difference between sobriety and drunkenness is like the difference between daylight and darkness.  Today I am grateful that I see the truth, and today I can care about others as I care about myself.

If you want what I have then there is a solution.  It begins with admitting that you have a problem, and then it requires a willingness to find that solution and to work towards it.

It is entirely up to you!

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Contrary to what some may believe, I am not against the consumption of alcohol.  That would be terribly hypocritical of me and I won’t go down that road.  Alcohol, when consumed responsibly, is not a problem in society.

However, it raises an interesting question, and that is: how can a drug, which impairs judgment and slows physical reaction, be consumed responsibly?

Not all people who get a DUI, or get in an argument or fight while drinking, or have an accident while drinking, are alcoholics.  They are simply normal people who did not realize they had reached the point of impairment, and that is the scary nature of alcohol.  Because of the time it takes alcohol to circulate through your body, most people are not aware that they are impaired until it is too late, and therein is the problem.

No, I am not against alcohol.  The simple fact is that I cannot drink alcohol; for this alcoholic, it is like drinking poison, and the results are predictable and devastating.  I would love to see a society without alcohol, because statistics don’t lie.  A great percentage of abuse, assaults, and other crimes are committed by people under the influence of alcohol; that is a simple fact.

We will not see a society free of alcohol in my lifetime, so the only hope is that people learn to drink responsibly before something serious happens.  I do not want anyone to have to live the life I lived while under the influence.

If you would like to view my video on alcoholism you can see it here!

Have a wonderful weekend; please be safe and responsible!

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It’s a pretty simple question, but one that demands complete honesty.  Can you control your drinking?

Many alcoholics experience denial of this topic, because nobody wants to admit that they are getting their butt kicked and they can’t do a damn thing about it.  However, if you are an alcoholic, and if you are being honest, you will have to admit that you cannot control the amount that you drink.

I can tell you for a fact that this alcoholic has no control whatsoever.  None….zero….zilch….nada!  Once I start drinking there is no stopping me at all.  Oh, I may be able to fake it for a couple of days, but the time will come when I will begin drinking 24/7/365, and then I am a dead man walking.

I’m the guy who would drink the remains in other people’s glasses.  I’m the guy who can’t understand how some people can take two or three sips from a glass of wine and then walk away from it.  I’m the guy who sneaks drinks and hides liquor throughout the house so I’m never far from it.  I’m the guy who knows exactly how much booze I have left and when I’ll have to make a booze run to the store.  I’m the guy who goes to different stores on a rotating basis so the clerks won’t notice how often I shop there for booze.

I’m the one who can’t be trusted at all once I start drinking!

No, I cannot control drinking, so the solution, for me, is to never start again.

To show you the insanity of this disease, imagine for a moment if you went to the doctor and he told you that you would have a deadly reaction if you ever ate a tomato again.  Most sane human beings would simply say “okay” and never eat a tomato the rest of their life.

However, you tell an alcoholic who is still drinking that he can die from one more drink, and he/she is just as likely to immediately go out and have a drink, and that, my friends, is insanity of the highest order.

Can you control your drinking?

I invite you to watch my video on alcoholism….you can see it here!

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I invite you to watch a video I made awhile back; it’s about loving yourself and you can see it here.

What’s the point?  Simply this:  nobody is born wishing they could be an alcoholic.  None of us can help the fact that our DNA is stacked against us, and a thousand-pound gorilla is just waiting to kick our butts.  No, we did not choose that disease.

When we were in the throes of alcoholism we did some things we are ashamed of; the longer our addiction controlled us, the more things we did that further destroyed our feelings of self-worth.  Our self-image has taken a beating and many of us end up thinking we are a worthless human being.

The time to end that way of thinking is now!  We cannot beat this disease of alcoholism as long as our self-worth is in the toilet!  We need to make our amends to the people we have harmed, and that includes ourselves, and then we need to wipe the slate clean and get on with life.

Once you are involved in sobriety, you will come to realize that there is a huge difference between the person who drank and the person who doesn’t drink.  If you are living according to spiritual principles then there is no reason to feel like you are the detritus of life; that person is dead and buried.

Embrace the new you!  Be proud of the fact that you faced down that gorilla and you have chosen to live a better life.  There is no point in remorse; it is a wasted emotion and it is time to step forward, from this day on, with a new attitude about living in sobriety.

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There is nothing easy about early sobriety!  If someone tells you it is easy, shake your head and walk away, or ask them what they are smoking, because those first few days….first few weeks….sometimes first few months….are a bitch!

My dad used to have a saying, and it was repeated by my second sponsor in AA…..”If you are going through hell, just keep on going.”  What’s the point?

The point is that it is hell when you first find sobriety.  If you have gone through treatment or detox, the physical craving is gone, but the mental obsession stays with us for quite some time.  At the first sign of trouble, or the first time a trigger arrives, our thoughts immediately return to drinking, and then that’s all we can think of. It is truly an obsession, and the only way to break it….the only way to get through hell….is to keep on going.

The old saying “time takes time” perfectly applies to this situation.  Nobody said that recovery was going to be easy.  We are talking about breaking a lifetime habit; how easy do you really think that is going to be?  One of the oddities about an obsession is that the harder you try not to think about it, the more you think about it.  The thoughts of drinking are hardwired into our brains, so naturally we are going to think about it.

One of the few triggers I have after six years of sobriety is a hot, sunny day during the summer.  I associate that kind of weather with cracking open a cold beer; I most likely always will.  I don’t entertain the thought of actually doing it, but the thought does appear, seemingly out of nowhere.

Early sobriety must be spent in the company of sobriety.  Sitting alone, bare-knuckling it, is a recipe for failure.  Get social, get active, and spend time with people who do not drink, people who will encourage you in your sober lifestyle.

Yes, if you are going through hell, you have to keep going.  Sooner or later it becomes easier, then easier still, until one day a miracle occurs….you go to bed and realize that not once during the day did you think about alcohol…..and that, my friends, is serenity!

Join me for a sit down chat about alcoholism……http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EakW8mlNE24&feature=player_embedded

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Not the word Halt, but the acronym H.A.L.T…..do you know what it stands for?

Anyone who has ever roamed the halls of AA is quite familiar with H.A.L.T…..Hungry….Angry….Lonely….Tired.  Those four are considered triggers if you will, things to watch out for if you are a recovering alcoholic.

When we become too hungry, too angry, too lonely, or too tired, we seem to be more susceptible to the siren song of alcohol.  Our defenses are down, and when our defenses are down we are in a vulnerable position.

Yes, drinking is a choice!  Yes, relapse is a choice!  That does not mean, however, that we need to be stupid about recovery.  When others who have walked our path tell us to watch out for certain warning signs, we would be well-advised to do so.  Only ego would prevent us from not doing so, because seriously, how hard is it to follow that advice?

Get plenty to eat, and eat on a regular basis.  Get plenty of rest; shoot for seven to eight hours per night.  Combat loneliness by making friends, and surrounding yourself with quality sobriety in those chosen friends.  And leave your anger at the door and work with your sponsor or some other trusted friend; anger leads to resentment and resentment leads to drinking.  Count on it!

If you are new to sobriety, you would be well-advised to write down H.A.L.T. and tape it to your mirror or desk.  When you start getting cravings, chances are one of those four warning signs are speaking to you.

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So, do you want what I have?

Do you want to wake up with a clear head and a smiling heart?  Do you want to wake up not regretting your life?  Do you want to wake up happy with who you are?  Do you want to wake up not fighting life?  Do you want to wake up in love with life?

Well, if so, here is the secret…..are you ready?  Give up!  Give up the fight!

The good news is that the battle is over; the bad news is that you lost!  You can’t beat alcohol, so you might as well give up trying.  I know; I’ve been there!  There is no way to win that battle, and the sooner you realize that fact the sooner you will have what I have.

You also have to give up trying to control life; there is no controlling life; it just is!  You can either accept people, places, and things as exactly the way they are supposed to be, or you can let it all eat you up inside and then you will be right back to drinking.

The choice is yours.  Nobody else can make this decision or choice.  Nobody else controls your happiness.  I am a big believer in calling it like I see it, and I’m here to tell you that suffering from alcoholism is a choice.  Armed with the knowledge that alcoholism is a disease…..armed with the knowledge that there is a solution…..once you know those things, then you choose whether to continue suffering or not!

I have lost many friends to this disease.  It damn near killed me.  I miss those friends, but the bottom line is that they chose to go back out and drink.  Nobody forced them!

Being drunk is a choice; being sober is a choice!  Which do you choose?

Listen to my own words about alcoholism here…..and God bless you all!

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The holidays are coming!  That can be either good news or bad news for an alcoholic, and it all depends on you!

I am pretty big on personal responsibility, and I am also one who calls bullshit when I hear it.  Living a sober life is a commitment, and the only one who can fulfill that commitment is the alcoholic.

Yes, the holidays are a time when drinking occurs.  Family dinners, celebrations, office parties, gab sessions with old friends, they all happen and there always seems to be booze around when they happen. However, that is not an excuse to drink!

For some, the holidays are a sad time, reminders of days gone by when the family was one, and everyone was happy….before the damage caused by alcohol.  So there is some sadness in the air and sadness leads to alcohol because hey, we are alcoholics, and that’s what we do.

No, it isn’t….that’s what we choose to do!

For the past six years I have been sober during the holidays.  For the past twenty Christmas seasons I have been sober.  That was a conscious decision on my part to not use excuses and to stay sober.  Of course it took some planning but it was oh so worth it.

I’ll tell you what I have done.  I do not put myself in slippery places or situations.  I do not go to New Year’s Eve parties, and I do not meet people in taverns or cocktail lounges.  There is no liquor in our house and all of my friends and family are well-aware that I do not want booze around me.  Period!

If they want to drink they can do it anywhere but around me.  If they want to party with booze they can party without me.  For me, alcohol is poison, and it will not be a part of my holiday season.

And that is a choice and a commitment!

I’ll tell you one other thing:  it is entirely possible to have a fun holiday season without booze. I am living proof of that statement.

Happy Holidays everyone!

P.S. I invite everyone to watch my video about alcoholism found here…..http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EakW8mlNE24&feature=player_embedded

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Read that title again because it is an important question.  Are you enjoying life now that you are sober?  If not, why not, because I gotta tell ya, I’m having the time of my life.

It is so important that you get out there and become an active, fun-loving member of the sober world, because let’s face it, if sobriety isn’t fun then you might as well drink!

When we were drinking, alcohol dominated our lives!  Sure, there were fun times, but most of the time, near the end of our drinking career, there was nothing fun about it. It was misery and it was never-ending.  Those are the plain, harsh facts!

Now that we are sober we are discovering life again.  Nature is once more beautiful!  Chores around the house are not drudgery but rather a chance to test our skills and make the house a home.  Time with family…..well, time with family is precious, and we have a lot of time to make up for.

We re-discover old talents and things we once did for enjoyment.  Maybe it is a hobby we once were involved in; maybe we take up a new sport, or we learn to relax and enoy a good book.  Maybe, like this writer, we finally start writing, and we publish a novel.

Whatever you do, the point is to have fun.  We have been miserable….now it is time to have a blast….a sober blast!

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