Category Archives: Guest Post
i was secretary at the Tuesday Night: Adventure’s in Sobriety meeting here in Yeaman and the first thing the speaker said was,
I’m meeting some of you for the first time in this room tonight, but you know me better than many of the people who have known me my whole life.
This got me to thinking about our close community here in the Bar None. Though i haven’t met any of you “in real life”, you know more about the “real me” than most of the people i come into contact with every day. In keeping with that spirit, i’m sharing (with her express permission) an e-mail i received from “Working On It”, who explains how it has come to pass that she decided to set sail on the beautiful, yet oft turbulent, sea of sobriety.
Something that happened on Fri June 15th has to be my moment of clarity. I’ve heard stories where nothing dramatic happened but for me, I knew I’d need something to hit me over the head.
I went back home to MI to meet a 10am Saturday appointment. I left around 4pm Friday as the hangover fog had somewhat lifted. I packed my suitcase, goodies bag and work laptop in my car. I spent 2 1/2 hrs in an agonizing crawl through the Chicago freeway system and another 2 1/2 hrs to my midpoint where I gas up and eat. I filled my tank and reached for my laptop bag to get food cash and the bag wasn’t there. Mind you, this is my work laptop so I was frantic. I knew I packed it and was trying to remember if I left the car doors locked when I gassed up. Then the doubts crept in whether or not I packed it at all.
I couldn’t call work to report it missing without being sure, so I knew the only way to know was a drive back home. I called my mom to let her know I was going to be much later. Without the rush hour traffic, it was only a 2 1/2 hour trip back. The entire time I was praying to my God that if my laptop bag was on premise, I promised to surrender my drinking problem up and let Him take 100% control. I repeated this the entire 150 miles.
When I arrived, I saw my laptop in the corner and cried. I then said “A promise is a promise” and called my mom and told her that I was on my way again (at 1130 pm). I spent the next 6 hrs alternating between thanking my God and listening to Coast to Coast AM (highly recommended if you want to scare the Sh*t out of yourself whilst driving in the middle of the night in the middle of nowhere 🙂 ). I rolled into my mom’s place at 530 am which made that a 13 1/2 hour trip. I made my 10 am appointment!
I have to believe that was my moment of clarity. I could never imagine doing anything like that ever again. I’m going to think of it as a choice to keep my promise rather than a choice not to drink. I know it is the same thing, but I prefer to put it in that perspective.
My mantra is “A promise is a promise” and I intend to keep it. I have not had a drink since 2am Friday morning at last call.
Thanks for letting me share your story, Working On It! i hope the people who frequent this Bar None will be able to give you whatever assistance they can, and while i heartily suggest any type of group meeting as therapy (not necessarily AA), i’m confident these members of the D-Generation in here have your back.
Hang in there, my friend, and Keep Working On It.
i got this as a comment from resident sage In The Same Boat and decided to take him up on his offer to post whatever i felt like of his wherever i wanted.
If any of you other readers wold like to share, please feel free to either email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) or post your post as a comment. The more the merrier!
Here then, is In The Same Boat’s comment response to my blog post, “Your Excuse is Invalid“.
Yes! Don’t focus on the losers. Focus on the winners.
Something that has helped me get through a tough spot is to identify ‘winners’ who don’t drink, and use them as inspiration. Steve Jobs didn’t drink. And look what he did!
But my hero is Richard Feynman, the famous physicist who won the Nobel Prize for explaining Quantum Mechanics. His book “Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman” helped me a lot throughout my life, to understand scientific integrity.
Here is few key passage from the book, that really had an impact on me.
(This is taken from ‘O Americano, Outra Vez!’, where he recounts a year in Brazil, and plays in a Samba band, while teaching Physics, and having adventures with the flight attendants who stayed in his hotel. He was quite a womanizer.)
“The people from the airlines were somewhat bored with their lives, strangely enough, and at night they would often go to bars to drink. I liked them all, and in order to be sociable, I would go with them to the bar to have a few drinks, several nights a week.
One Day, about 3:30 in the afternoon, I was walking along the sidewalk opposite the beach at Copacabana past a bar. I suddenly got this treMENDdous, strong feeling: ‘That’s *just* what I want; that’ll fit just right. I’d just love to have a drink right now!’
I started to walk into the bar, and I suddenly thought to myself, ‘Wait a minute! It’s the middle of the afternoon. There’s nobody here. There’s no social reason to drink. Why do you have a such a terribly strong feeling that you *have* to have a drink?’ — and I got scared.
I never drank ever again, since then. I suppose I really wasn’t in any danger, because I found it very easy to stop. But that strong feeling that I didn’t understand frightened me. You see, I get such fun out of *thinking* that I don’t want to destroy this most pleasant machine that makes life such a big kick….”
Being a bored college student at age 20, I remember reading that. At the time, I was aware that I had a problem with alcohol but so do most college students. I called my friend and read him the passage. And he said “well, there you have your test. If you feel like drinking in the afternoon alone, that’s the time to stop.” I wish I had remembered that test and followed through with it. But it took me much longer than Feynman to figure it out.
And here’s another passage I find therapeutic. Here he discusses the party the Swedes threw for him when he was award his Nobel Prize. It’s from “Alfred Nobel’s other Mistake”
“I sat next to the lady who was in charge of organizing the dinner. A waitress came by to fill my wineglass, and I said ‘No thank you. I don’t drink.’
The lady said ‘No, no. Let her pour the drink.’
‘But I *don’t* drink.’
She said, ‘It’s all right. Just look. You see, she has two bottles. We know that number eighty-eight doesn’t drink.’ (Number eighty-eight was on the back of my chair.) ‘They look exactly the same, but one has no alcohol.’
‘But how do you know?’ I exclaimed.
She smiled. ‘Now watch the king,’ she said. ‘He doesn’t drink either.’
Thank you, Dr. Feynman. Now that’s a winner!
Got this comment from our brother In The Same Boat and i thought it would be better served here on the Front Page rather than buried at the bottom of a post somewhere…
Today I hit a new milestone. As I was walking back from the cafe, where I spent the evening reading after a long work day, it occurred to me that I had not once thought about alcohol since getting up this morning. No regrets of my past drinking. No weird cravings. No gratitude that I quit drinking. Just a busy fulfilled day. I don’t think that has happened in a long time.
Of course, thinking that thought blew the streak but it is only an hour before midnight. I’m wondering if I will see the time when having thoughts about alcohol is unusual, and I can just go about my life. And if so does that put me in danger of a relapse?
In the Same Boat is a lifesaver.
A Recovery Guru on the internet, he’s a regular commenter on this page, as well as the Bar None and many of the sites listed under Recovery Artists in my sidebar. Though he does not keep a blog himself (despite my constant pleas), he has been so kind as to grace me with a couple of guest posts.
Today, he’s generously provided me with a follow up to ITSB’s Manifestive, a post he wrote on his first anniversary of sobriety that i hung up over at the Bar None. Today, on the 2nd anniversary of his sobriety, he has this wisdom to impart to us.
ITSB’s 2nd Anniversary Manifestive
My first month of sobriety seemed like a year. My second year of sobriety seemed like a month.
Reading my 1-year manifestive over again, I see that much has changed.
The biggest change is leaving isolation. My mountain home, tucked deep in the mountains to keep me far away from bars and liquor stores, is no longer required. I have moved to a place very close to the beach in the Santa Monica/Venice area of LA and I love it. I can ride my bike along the ocean path to work, ogling the hotties. I can run barefoot in the sand with the surf hitting my feet and then jump in for a swim to cool down if I get too hot.
To forget the day, I do not need alcohol. Rather, I take my portable chair to the beach and watch the sunset, while listening to the waves. And I’m learning to surf. All this would be gone if I went back to my old ways because there are many bars nearby and a liquor store next door. Drinking the way I used to with such easy access to booze? That could be fatal. I know it. I have found a place to live that makes me far happier than any buzz alcohol has ever given me and I become healthier, not weaker enjoying it. Any temptation to drink is immediately quashed with the realization that it would ruin what I now have.
But while my location is a dream and my urges to drink are comfortably suppressed, there is still reality to cope with. My job is stressful, and I am not as far along in my career as I would like to be. The reason is that I wasted a decade taking easy-money jobs to keep me sauced rather than advancing my career. I used to lament that “work was interfering with my drinking” but the opposite was obviously true. Working hard now I find it very easy to catch up since I do not have to spend the morning nursing a hangover. I’ve even started a little consulting business on the side that’s helping me become more financially secure. And I’ve made it a goal to be retired by the time I’m 55. That’s still a ways away. But it is something to keep my focus on the future and away from the here and now. Nonetheless, I find the stress manifesting itself in ways that are not uncommon but still unpleasant.
Resentments, desires to lash out, and the like, that could have been easily quelled with a few beers at the end of the day, now take other methods. While I still find the ABCs taught in SMART therapeutic, the most effective therapy I have found is to go the gym, which is fortunately near my office, pick up two dumbells (3, 5, or even 8 pounds work) and smash a punching bag until my arms feel like they’re going to drop off. Then I rest for 30 seconds and do it again and again as often as it takes to work it out. Following that with some weight training a couple times a week, and maybe a massage, helps a lot.
While I brag about my running and weight training, which have been instrumental to recovery, I still find myself engaging in self-destructive behavior. My caffeine consumption is entirely too high — I drink about 8-10 cups of coffee a day, which cannot be good. But I am not that concerned about it. The other behavior I have is more troubling. If you re-read my manifestive, you’ll see that airports were a major source of anxiety for me. Well, actually I have learned that it’s travel in general. And the following has happened three or four times in the past year.
Whenever I fly somewhere or go on a road trip, I tell myself that it’s ok to have a few cigarettes even though I stopped smoking regularly almost 20 years ago. The few turn into a pack of smokes, which I have at the destination. This is enough to get me addicted to nicotine. So then I buy nicotine replacement lozenges so that I do not smoke or enter withdrawal at an inopportune time. After everything has settled from the travel, I then withdrawal over a weekend when the thrill of the lozenges wear off and things are peaceful. I have identified travel as the trigger but I still feel like part of me likes playing the addict game. The only good things I can say about it are that it serves as a strong reminder of how easy it is to fall into one’s old ways and it is not dehabilitating like alcohol. Still, it has to stop.
So there you have it. The urges to drink went away. I haven’t been to a SMART meeting in 18 months but I still turn to your blog and others for guidance and reminders of what hell is like. I’m getting my career back on track. Yet I still play the addict game from time to time but not with the booze. Life in my second year was much easier than my first. I think this is because I overcame the Post-Acute-Withdrawal Syndrome and rebalanced myself. Also, the extra brain power I have from not drinking allows me to think of ways to improve my life. Oh, and I remain convinced I can never moderate alcohol.
And I believe it will get easier for you as well.
Hang in there! You’re doing great, Al!