Posts Tagged ‘alcohol’

I haven’t written on this blog for quite some time, so I thought I’d take a break from my regular blog and give you an update on my sobriety.

November 16th, my 8th sobriety anniversary, came and went without much fanfare, and that’s exactly how I wanted it.  I have reached the point in my sobriety where milestones mean very little to me.  Sobriety is just a way of life now.  Each day is a celebration when you aren’t obsessing over getting drunk, so November 16th looked pretty much the same as every other day.

For those of you who are still struggling with addiction, I offer you hope.  I know you’ve heard others say this, but it is true: if I can do it then anyone can.  I was hopeless eight years ago, and I was close to achieving my goal of drinking myself to death.

Today I love life.  That may seem a bit odd for those of you craving a drink, but it’s the truth as I know it.

Will I drink in the future? I have no idea.  I don’t whistle in the wind hoping to keep the devil away, and I know much better than to make promises.  All I can say with certainty is that I won’t drink today, and I’ll take on tomorrow when it gets here.

I can tell you that I no longer obsess over alcohol.  In fact, it rarely even enters my mind and I mean rarely.  I go about my day without thoughts of drinking and that, in itself, is a miracle.

As always, if you need support and someone to talk with, you know how to reach me.

Pax Vobiscum


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younger daysI was watching a video on YouTube last night of the Beatles’ performance on the Ed Sullivan Show back in 1964.  What a trip down Memory Lane that was.

The Beatles looked so young then, and they seemed to genuinely enjoy performing.  So much different from how they appeared five years later when they broke up.

I was sixteen when that show was broadcast.  I was so innocent.  I really had no worries then, and I really had not experienced life at that point.

Ten years later I had begun to experiment with drinking, and twenty years later I was drinking heavily.  My innocence was gone by then, and I was about to really experience the dark side of life.

And so it goes.  I have no regrets.  I do not believe in regrets because that leads to shame and guilt and that invites drinking.  I won’t go there.  I have experienced life, the good and the bad, and I have learned along the way, and one thing I have learned is that I can be happy without alcohol. I can be loved without alcohol.   I can be productive without alcohol.

Today life is good….without alcohol.

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teacherYes, staying sober requires maintenance.  Think about it for a second.  If you are an alcoholic you have spent decades drinking.  That, my friends, is a habit that is not easily broken.  Now suddenly you stop drinking.  Now what?  You have stopped so now what do you do?

For most of us, we realized that simply not drinking was not enough; we had to change everything about us.  You see, drinking was just a symptom of the real problem, and the real problem was us!

I had to start from the ground up and rebuild who I was, and then I had to make sure I did not return to the old person, because the old person wants to drink.  That’s what he does, he drinks!

So I got rid of negative thinking. I got rid of outside influences, including people, who were not good for me to be around.  I avoided slippery places like taverns and cocktail lounges.  I started treating people with respect and I stopped trying to use them for my own gain.  When I was wrong I admitted it and made amends.  It was tiring and it was hard work and I sure don’t want to do it again, so I do daily maintenance for my continued sobriety.

Every night I review my day and make sure that I have acted like a good person.  If I have done something that I shouldn’t have done then I have to make up for that. I have to apologize and make it right.

The other maintenance I do is I help other alcoholics.  This blog is one example. I must be available to others who are still suffering, and I must offer help when they need it.  By helping others I am also helping myself stay sober.

You see, it is not about just giving up the booze.  It is about making a brand new life and then doing the homework necessary to live a happy and contented new life.

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loving life on a hikeI am tired today. In truth I’ve been tired for quite some time, and I’ve been around Alcoholics Anonymous long enough now to recognize that as a warning sign.

Once I reach the point where my mind is tired, then my body follows, and then I have opened the door to my own personal demons.

I write constantly, trying to find that perfect word, that perfect phrase, that will capture my audience and stir them into action.  So far I haven’t found it, and I begin to wonder if I ever will.

I worry about money, that ever-present anchor around my neck.  I worry about the fact that we don’t have medical coverage, and what will happen if Bev or I really do get sick enough to need a trip to the hospital.

I worry, and that makes me tired.  I need a vacation but I also realize that vacations cost money and we have so little.

So I am tired, and I recognize that fact, and so I need to do something about it.  I cannot allow myself to stay tired for long, because my demons need to stay in the background where they can’t harm me.  To allow them to roam free is to invite the madness of alcoholism back into my life.

In AA we refer to it as H.A.L.T….hungry, angry, lonely, tired, four warning signs that we need to make some changes.

So I need to make changes. I just don’t know what they will be.

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wash d.c.Poor me…..Poor me…..Pour me another drink!

I pay a lot of attention to the old-timers in AA.  The ones with twenty…thirty years of sobriety.  One thing I noticed about them is they never talk about problems that they might be having.  Surely they have problems….we all do…but all they talk about is the solution.

There was an old-timer I knew years back….his name was Little Joe, and at the time he had over forty years of sobriety.  He would always say that life was good.  Hi my name is Little Joe, and life is good!

He had a heart attack, and two weeks later he was back at a meeting saying life was good.  I asked him about it, and he said that compared to the hell of drinking, all else pales in comparison.  Life was, indeed, good.

We can concentrate on the negatives in our life, and how miserable we are, and I guarantee you that leads to thoughts of drinking.  Or we can concentrate on the good in life, and I guarantee that leads to thoughts of sobriety.

The choice is ours!

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teacherAre you feeling angry lately?  If so, and you are an alcoholic, you really need to take a close look at that anger, because quite frankly it has the ability to undermine your sobriety.

Where does anger come from?  Some psychologists submit that all anger if fear-based.  Others will tell you that it comes from resentments.  Whatever the case may be, anger will eat you up from the inside out, and it leads many alcoholics back to drinking.

Look at the root cause of your anger and deal with it.  If you are in the AA program, talk to your sponsor and if you don’t have a sponsor, get one.  This is too important to ignore, and it might just be time for you to reach out to someone for help.

Anger and sobriety do not mix, and the sooner you get a handle on the cause of your anger, the sooner you will be on the road to recovery.

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teacherIf someone told you that you would get violently ill and possibly die if you ate another tomato, chances are pretty good you would never eat that tomato again.  However, if someone tells an alcoholic that they might die if they ever take another drink, there is an internal debate that occurs, and chances are worse than 50/50 that they will follow that advice.

Why?  Because we are talking about a physical craving and a psychological obsession with booze!  Do not try to attack this problem logically for there is no logic when we are talking about an alcoholic’s obsession with booze.

Alcoholics, when faced with the realization that they might have a problem, will try anything to drink like a normal person.  They will switch to beer only; they will try to drink only on weekends…..and on and on they go, and each attempt to modify their behavior ends in defeat.

We will never be able to drink like normal people. It ain’t going to happen, so the sooner we come to that realization the better.  However, it takes what it takes.  Some alcoholics have to suffer longer than others before they realize that for them, alcohol is the tomato that will kill them.

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DSCN0948There is a great calm that accompanies sobriety, but it takes time to reach that point.  Changing one’s life is not an overnight accomplishment.

There is an old saying in AA…..if you take the booze away from a drunk horse thief, you still have a horse thief.  We need to change who we are in order to find serenity.

When I first came to AA, I would hear about people who had twenty and thirty years of sobriety, and it seemed to me that they had to be lying.  There was no way someone could be sober that long.  Well, it turns out that you can, but you do it one day at a time.  Today is all that matters for this alcoholic.  I can’t be concerned with tomorrow, or next month, or five years down the road.  All I have to do is live a sober life today, and then when tomorrow comes I have a new day to be sober.

Before you know it, those days have added up to weeks, and then months, and one day you look in the mirror and realize that a different person is looking back at you, and that you in fact like this new person.

Yes, there is a great calm that accompanies sobriety, and you realize that great calm by taking care of business today.

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wash d.c.The U.S. CDC recently reported that 12,000 women and girls die each year from binge drinking.

I mention that because I want to point out that binge drinking does not necessarily mean alcoholism.  A person with little history of drinking can go out on the town, drink too much, and die of alcohol poisoning.  They could go to the beach on Spring break and drink too much over five or seven days, and die from it.  Remember that alcohol is a depressant, and if the body is not accustomed to that much alcohol, it can be fatal.

That is a completely different discussion than alcoholism.  Alcoholism is a disease featuring a physical craving and a psychological dependency, and it is characterized by a long history of excessive drinking.

One of the things that makes alcoholism such a sneaky bastard is the fact that nobody really knows they are alcoholic without first stepping into the waters.  The disease is genetic for sure, but it can skip generations, so there is no real way of knowing until it steps up and bites you in the ass.

My recommendation, and I rarely do this, but my recommendation is that if you have alcoholism in your family history, think long and hard before you start drinking.  Is it worth the risk just to get socially high with your friends?

If you would like to see my video on alcoholism, you can find it here.

And if you would like to purchase my ebook on this disease, you can find it here.

Thank you!

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teacherThere are no shortcuts in sobriety!  What does that mean?

It has been often said that alcohol is just a symptom of the real problem, and the real problem is the alcoholic.  Until we change who we are, and start living by a set of spiritual principles, we will always have the need to drink.

That’s what the 12 Steps of AA are all about, ridding ourselves of the old and ushering in the new.  We make a fearless inventory of our faults…we tell those faults to another human being…..we make a list of people we have harmed….and we make amends for those injuries that we caused.  That is the process of ridding ourselves of self….then we start over again, building a brand new person, a person who is guilt-free and living a life of humanness.

Without doing that, our chances of living a sober life are slim.

There are no shortcuts in sobriety!

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