Archive for December, 2012

wash d.c.So you made it through Christmas and all the relatives and the hustle and bustle.  Temptations were there for sure but hooray, you did not drink.

Only to be faced, a week later, with the Party Night of the Year, New Year’s Eve!

How ya doing?  Are you hanging in there?  Is tonight going to be tough on you?  It’s normal if it is, and it is normal if you are concerned about it.

And for many of us, it is normal not to drink!

Here is the secret….are you ready?

You make the decision not to drink!  Period!

How bad do you want this thing called sobriety?  If you want it bad enough then you won’t succumb to the temptation tonight.  You won’t use New Year’s Eve as an excuse to get wasted.  You won’t give up!

Surround yourself with sober friends tonight, and don’t tell me you don’t have any sober friends.  In every AA meeting place you will find sober friends to pass the time with tonight if you are having problems.  Reach out, ask for help, and above all…..booze

HAVE A HAPPY NEW YEAR!  I know I will, and I’ll be sober while doing it!

Thank you for following my blog this past year.  Over 20,000 views tells me that I must be saying something that you want to hear.  I appreciate each and every one of you, and if my words have helped you in any way then I am happy.

If you would like to watch my YouTube video on alcoholism you can find it here.

If you have a Kindle and would like to purchase my ebook on alcoholism for all of $.99, you can find it here.

Thank you one and all and now let’s get ready for a new year of sobriety and happiness.

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wash d.c.If you are not familiar with the 10th Step of Alcoholics Anonymous, it teaches us to continue to take personal inventory and when we are wrong to promptly admit it.

I do this every night before I go to sleep.  I review my day and make sure that I have not said or done something that has caused harm to another human being.

Why do we do this?  Simply because carrying around guilt or shame is incredibly unhealthy.  It is so much easier to handle this daily and clean the slate, so that guilt is not our constant companion.Yellowstone 2009 088

Alcoholics carry a lot of guilt around with them.  We get rid of that guilt when we do the 4th and 5th Steps, but then it is necessary to do a daily house cleaning of sorts so that we can face each new day with a light heart.

Come to think of it, the 10th Step is good idea for anyone, alcoholic or not! 🙂


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teacherDid you make it through Christmas without drinking?  I did; in fact, I have not been drunk on Christmas since 1992, or twenty years.  Yes, I have relapsed during that span, but for whatever reason, I have stayed sober over the holidays.  Is that important?

Only you can answer that question.  For me, it shows that it is possible, despite the hectic pace of the holidays, to stay sober.  If I can do it then anyone can….but it is in no way simple for an alcoholic.

Now we have Christmas out of the way and we turn our attention to New Year’s Eve, one of the great party holidays of the year.  So many people planning on ringing in the New Year and toasting to life…but for an alcoholic, raising that glass in a toast is a possible death sentence.

Visualize that drink all the way through to its consequences.  What will happen if you take that one drink?  It might be a good idea not to attend parties where alcohol will be served.  For this alcoholic, New Year’s Eve is treated just like any other evening.  I do not put myself in a position where I will be around alcohol.  I do not tempt fate, no matter how strong my sobriety is at this moment.  It just isn’t worth the risk.

Visualize that drink all the way through to its consequences.  Is it worth the risk?

Happy New Year to all of you!

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being sillyAt every AA meeting there are always those there who are court ordered to attend.  They may or may not be alcoholics, but the fact of the matter is that they were caught driving while over the legal limit, and they were arrested, and as part of their sentence they are forced to attend meetings.

Some want to be there; others are just going through the motions, doing what they are ordered to do.  They will sit off in a far corner of the room and talk to no one.  Many of them do not listen, and many spend the entire meeting texting messages on their cell phones.  In truth, many of them think it is unfair that they have to be there, and they are resentful of that fact.

Now, review what I just wrote.  Those folks consumed liquor to the tune of being over the legal limit, which means they were impaired, and then they got behind the wheel of a 2,000 lb vehicle and drove.  They were arrested and then were resentful that they were sent to a meeting rather than to jail.

They may not be alcoholics but they are most definitely stupid!

Alcoholics Anonymous is not a punishment.  Even for those who are not alcoholics, AA offers an opportunity to see the effects of alcohol at its worst.  At its best, AA offers a solution to the disease of alcoholism.

Let me be very clear about this, without sounding like I am on a crusade. If you drink and drive you deserve to go to jail.  Consider yourselves lucky that you are just at an AA meeting.  Spend some time listening while you are there; you just might learn something about yourselves.

If you would like to sit down with me and chat about alcoholism, visit me here!

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wash d.c.Alcohol is the enemy, and the spoils of war are your life and peace of mind.

Too harsh?  Perhaps you need to drink a little bit more and then decide whether that statement is too harsh.

Alcohol has cost this alcoholic two jobs, two marriages, a business, who knows how many dollars, and my self-respect.  What is the total value of those things/

What is the total value of love lost?  What is the total value of trust that can never be regained? What is the total value of millions of tears, and the look of disgust in the eyes of those who were your friends?

Everything I held dear, I lost.  Everything!  No, I did not lose my life, but I should have, and besides, while drinking I did not hold my life as a dear commodity.  I simply stopped caring about anything other than where my next drink was coming from.

Alcohol is the enemy!  It certainly is for this man.  It helps for me to visualize a three-eyed monster with bloody fangs and a thirst for my life-blood.  It is not an innocent glass of beer but rather a vicious killer who has taken countless friends from me and who wants me next.

But he cannot have me….and he cannot have you, if you so choose!

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thumbnailCAE2TTDQI saw a guy the other day….he was sitting in a doorway downtown….and he had his bottle of whatever in a paper bag.  He was wrapped in a blanket, as it was 38 degrees at the time, and he looked so miserable.

There but for the grace of God go I!  That man, and I, share a commonality, and that commonality is alcoholism.  He and I are not that different. I am, in fact, one drink away from joining him in that doorway.

How can that be you ask?  How can one drink do so much?  The very nature of my alcoholism means that one drink will lead to endless drinks, and within a very short amount of time I will have said goodbye to this life I have built.  I will lose Bev….I will lose my possessions…I will lose my self-respect….and I will eventually lose my life.

And it all starts with one drink!

Think about it next time you start craving booze!

Sit with me for a chat about alcoholism.  Here is my video about the disease.

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teacherDecember 24, 2002, I was hanging onto my sobriety by a thread.  I had relapsed a month earlier, and on Christmas Eve of that year I was lonely and trying so hard to stay sober through Christmas.

My son was in Everett on that night, so I was all alone, and I was hurting.  What to do? How was I going to stay sober through the holidays?

I ended up driving down to AA, and as I was walking across the parking lot to get to the meeting, another member called out my name.  He came up and gave me a hug, and said, “I love you, brother; I’m glad you are here.”

I was home!  I was with people who understood how I felt, and who loved me for who I was.

I made it through that night, and although I relapsed again in 2003 and 2006, the lesson had been learned.

When the walls are closing in, and when you feel like you can’t do this sobriety thing alone, then go out and find another recovering alcoholic for support.  You are never alone in this world if you choose not to be.  There are millions of recovering alcoholics who have sworn to help others who are in need.

All you have to do is reach out a hand for help and it will be there.

Happy Holidays my friends!

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teacherI am what you would call a no-nonsense recovering alcoholic.  I do not pat my sponsees on the top of the head and tell them everything will be alright.  I offer support, but I do not tell them anything other than the truth:  alcoholism is a killer!

I have seen too many friends die from this disease.  I have seen too many families torn apart by this disease.  I almost died from this disease, so I am well-aware of its destructive properties.

No, everything will not be alright if you keep drinking.  You will die if you keep drinking, or worse yet, you will kill someone else and you’ll live in a hell of your own making.

The responsibility lies squarely on the shoulders of the alcoholic.  They did not choose to have this disease, but they do choose to keep feeding it.  I cannot sit by idly and say everything will be alright when I know that to be a lie.

The first step to recovery is to admit you have a problem with alcohol, and that your life is unmanageable.  Until you take that step you will continue to live a life of misery.  Period!

I am not a self-righteous recovering alcoholic.  I am a realist!  Alcoholism kills, and if you choose to keep drinking then you are the willing sacrifice.  There is a solution!  Seek it and life will improve!

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teacherFinding sobriety is not easy!  Don’t let anyone tell you that it is.  My mother, until the day she died, believed that sobriety was just a matter of willpower.  I know others who believe that as well.  I prefer to think of it as a matter of willingness and surrender.

I have had a rough road on this journey to sobriety.  I entered a treatment center in 1990, but sobriety only least six weeks upon my release.  I eventually found myself in a detox unit in 2002, over the 4th of July, and after that I stayed sober for ten years.  I attended AA for half of that time, but I never really felt at peace.  The thousand pound gorilla, alcoholism, was always in the back of my mind.  I was sober for those ten years but I was not at peace.

When my divorce happened in 2002, I turned to the one thing I knew when the emotions became too much for me to handle.  I drank for about a month, and then stopped cold turkey and returned to AA.  I was okay, but still not at peace, until 2003, when my mom died, at which time I went right back to drinking.

On and off until 2006 when I almost drank myself to death.  That’s when it happened!

That’s when I found serenity.  There is a section in the AA book “Twelve by Twelve” that I remember clearly.  It speaks of finally coming to AA with a willingness to listen that only the dying can have.  That was me in December, 2006.  I knew I would drink myself to death if I started again, so this time I was willing to listen and surrender.

And since that time, six years and counting, I have been at peace.

No, finding sobriety is not easy.  For those of you who keep struggling, and think it can never happen, remember my story.  If it can happen for me, it can happen for anyone.

You can find my ebook on alcoholism here if interested.

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