20 August 2019

"The Distinction Between a User, Abuser, and Addict...


"The distinction between a user, abuser and addict is irrelevant when a person is sentenced to prison because he was driving high and killed someone, or when he suffers permanent brain damage or a stroke, or when he OD's." - David Sheff, "Clean: Overcoming Addiction and Ending America's Greatest Tragedy," p. 77.
Sheff's quote left me speechless, lost in reflection of my own slow descent into addictive hell.
Escalating forms of denial accompany the up-and-coming addict as they go down-and-out.
How well I remember that "by the time I had a reason to stop drinking, reason no longer had anything to do with it." I flowed seamlessly from user to abuser to full-blown addict.
Truth and consequences took a back seat once addiction was in the driver's seat.
As I've heard in the rooms of recovery, 'Jails, institutions and death' are addiction's usual destinations.
Even after recovery has been achieved, addiction seems patiently to lie in wait, to take up where it left off.
User, abuser, addict?
"Loving to drink. Living to drink. Dying to drink. Dying from drinking. This is the progression of alcoholism. Wanting to live. Learning to live. Loving to live. Living with love. This is the progression of recovery."
Love will solve what stigma has dissolved.
Quotes which follow David Sheff's are excerpted from All Drinking Aside: The Destruction, Deconstruction & Reconstruction of an Alcoholic Animal 
On Amazon.com. Book it here: http://amzn.to/1bX6JyO 

16 August 2019

A Self Revealed (#Recovery) in a not too Trivial Moment


1) June marked my 15th year of continuous Recovery from what I'm told should properly be called a Substance Use Disorder (SUD). I'll just say here that I no longer drink alcohol.
2) July marked one year since my last chemo and radiation treatments for cancer and I am now cancer-free and
3) Wednesday marked the date of my port removal (A port is a surgically implanted device through which chemo is administered to cancer patients).
I noted on three different occasions in less than two hours on this day, also, in both pre-op & post-op, that a doctor, a nurse and another staff member at Cooper Hospital all had used the word 'celebration' in their small talk with me regarding my port removal.
I diminished this event's importance by framing it as no big deal, "another day in paradise," or some other flippant remark, fully thought yet not said aloud. No big deal. A day like every other day.
A diminished reality, not wishing to pay too much attention to it, I would not celebrate my port removal with champagne, as had been suggested. I do not drink and so trivialized this event as a sort of defense mechanism protecting me from feeling the reality of a day worth fully feeling, a benchmark worthy of celebration.
Let it in. Let it out. Sometimes the very expression of breath escapes me.
Trivializing moments, whether important or unimportant.
Let it in. Let it out. Sometimes the very expression of breath escapes me.
I did it again.... Another breath transpired and ignored. A day, like any and every other, worthy of celebration, and I, too often oblivious to its wonder. Any day, every day, fully worthy of my attention. I am worthy.
Let it in & let it out.
Do not let each breath escape you.
Find the inexpressible in each moment.
I'm still learning to not suppress the sublime that each moment is, worthy of my full attention.
Each moment is a port to the sublime (not the port through which the chemo was administered, the port that is each moment, portal to the sublime).
I'm glad you took the time to celebrate with me, this string of moments.
Let it in. Let it out.
Don't let the very expression of your breath escape you.
Recovery is sublime.
It's time to celebrate.
Authenticate each moment in time.
It's time to celebrate sublime.

01 August 2019

Subtitle Solved: structure, Structure, STRUCTURE!!!


In Real Estate, of course, we've all heard about the importance of location. "Location, Location, Location!" as the saying goes.
My Recovery, as you will discover in ALL DRINKING ASIDE, is all about Structure. Take a look at the Subtitle of All Drinking Aside: The Destruction, Deconstruction and Reconstruction of an Alcoholic Animal:
The Destruction: Observe the structure and functioning of a life and mind crumbling before your very eyes.
The Deconstruction: Examine the Structure of inner-thought processes and a life disordered by substance abuse. An unkind and broken Rubik's Cube deconstructs itself to somehow be pieced back together in the new and sober terrain that remains after the destruction subsides.
The Reconstruction: The STRUCTURE, purpose and function of a new and sober life is repurposed, restructured and resolved. Strong, resilient, resolute, discover this all while 3 fictional characters (unnoticed by me) discuss my prospects for Recovery.
structure... Structure... STRUCTURE... 
Structure some time to read ALL DRINKING ASIDE: The Destruction, Deconstruction & Reconstruction of an Alcoholic Animal 
Location, Location, Location.
Where will you find this Autobiographical Fiction?
Find it on Amazon.com here: http://amzn.to/1bX6JyO 

30 July 2019

Book Review of "Unbreakable Mind: Channeling Your Survival Instincts after Catastrophic Injury"

by Jim Anders

A Book For Everyone Recovering from Anything (5***** Stars)

Steven Quigley's  spinal cord injury was his Lemon. "Unbreakable Mind: Channeling Your Survival Instincts after Catastrophic Injury" is his Lemonade.
The 18 Chapters of "Unbreakable Mind" contain many seeds of wisdom (Lemonade pun intended), far too many to include in this short 5***** Star Reader Review, but here are a few I found particularly Awesome:
1. "... quietly, below the surface, each of us has a wound we need to heal." (Chapter 12)
2. "It is only twelve inches from the mind to the heart, but so few manage the journey." (Chapter 1)
3. "Doctors and hospitals do not heal you- you heal yourself!" (Chapter 3)
4. "... masking pain can be deadly, it only hides the underlying problem and can lead to an escalation in the use of painkillers or creating a dependency." (Chapter 9) I masked my pain with alcohol. Let "Unbreakable Mind" serve as a tool of introspection so that you may become Unbreakable, too.
5. "Your team is everything- so built it wisely and strongly." (Chapter 10) This book is powerful. Reading it will put Steven Quigley on YOUR Team.
6. "The physical fight is only the first of many battles in your recovery and some will be broken by it before they begin their journey to a new life." (Chapter 17) To paraphrase Steven Quigley, the biggest fight exists in your mind.
From deep within yourself, through connection with others, you will "find a way to help other people." (Chapter 18) "Unbreakable Mind" is engrossing, thought-provoking, inspirational. Dive deep, connect, emerge more fully whole. Pass it on. 5 Stars.

Here's the link to "Unbreakable Mind" https://www.amazon.com/Unbreakable-Mind-Channeling-Instincts-Catastrophic/dp/0692129901/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=%22Unbreakable+Mind%3A+Channeling+Your+Survival+Instincts+after+Catastrophic+Injury%22&qid=1564506413&s=gateway&sr=8-1

29 July 2019


"Ninety percent of people who need help never receive it. Indeed, people with addiction are more likely to wind up in prison than in rehab." - David Sheff, "Clean: Overcoming Addiction and Ending America's Greatest Tragedy," p. 15
Our so-called War on Drugs has turned out to be more a War on Addicts.
It goes beyond lawyers and laws. If David Sheff's quote (above) is correct, which I believe it is, it points to larger problems than our criminal justice system.
Blaming the victims of addiction by stigmatizing substance use disorders does nothing to help people striving to get their lives back together. Stigma kills. It makes the recovery process ever-more difficult. Punishment doled out in the form or employment and housing discrimination are among a host of other below-the-belt punches, far beyond and after an addict is released from a jail cell. Looks of disgust and mistrust will accompany them for years to come. Social barriers to recovery are so prevalent, so part and parcel of expected behavior as to be nearly unnoticed by the uninformed John Q. Public.
Stigma for those still using. Stigma for those struggling to live in recovery. Looked at in abhorrence, an anathema to be scorned without pity, recovery for many and most has not been made any easier by the social-fabric-of-the-day. Injustice. The War on Drugs has hardened our Culture to the Core.
I am an alcoholic in long-term recovery. I had been dehumanized by alcohol, humiliated by the world-at-large. The Stigma Enigma, as I've called it elsewhere, is the punishing by the outside world of those already punished by addiction. The stigma continues long past the last drug use, long after the prison door of addiction has opened.
The slightest glimmer of hope sustains me.
The smallest of changes may have the most profound effects. Here, where I live, there used to be an institution called DRUG COURT. This is a place where addicts on drug-related offenses are given the opportunity to start a new life in Recovery.
The smallest change, miraculous, has been a simple change in language. DRUG COURT is now called RECOVERY COURT.
My job is done here. Check out this wonderful article: https://www.pressofatlanticcity.com/news/employment-key-to-recovery-court-graduates-success-judge-says/article_978893e3-c46a-5cf3-9b3b-763864296c0b.html
One simple change: Someone said something like let's call DRUG COURT something that better describes its purpose. Let's call it RECOVERY COURT.
This reminds me of my wonder as a child after giving a kaleidoscope a simple quarter turn: Everything changes.
One small change. A simple change of focus can move mountains.
It's a start. It's a start. It's a start.
"Nothing matters more than that we remain sober because when we remain sober everything matters more."
#Alcoholism #Addiction #Recovery
[NOTE: I've never been in jail, but I know full-well the prison of addiction. You might enjoy my book: ALL DRINKING ASIDE: The Destruction, Deconstruction & Reconstruction of an Alcoholic Animal ]
Find it on Amazon.com here: http://amzn.to/1bX6JyO 
Recovery Tweets: http://twitter.com/JimAnders4

14 June 2019

:-) :-) :-) :-) :-) TODAY (short & simple): My 15 Years of Continuous Recovery Celebrated :-) :-) :-) :-) :-)


Actually, it was Facebook that reminded me of my short post last year when I marked 14 years.
This was that:
Barely remarked by me, the rear view mirror exclaimed that my Anniversary of the 14th Year of Continuous Sobriety had come and gone.
I've sort of stopped counting the days I've gained when stacked against the monumental losses of loved ones all around.
There is sadness in a happy time, by any measure.
My Anniversary, a small, significant pleasure.
A sad time, with greater meaning deep within.
Fifteen beckons in its own meandering way.
Peace be you day, whatever day it is.
A Happy Sobriety has Won, again, today. 
I was taken aback (pun intended).
Thank you, Facebook.
I responded by sharing my post from a year ago with this additional short note:
Each day passes without the thought of a drink, but like riding a bicycle, I will not ever forget how to pedal.
Another year, now 15 continuous years of sobriety, has passed by. This last year has been marked by my cancer diagnosis, treatment and survival, and Recovery Coach training.
Survival, suffering, peace, joy and gratitude are in the mix. Such an odd meatball (!) Life is.
Please find your best way to thrive another day.
Smell the coffee, tend the roses, lend a hand.
Tears of Joy and Sorrow in the Mix.
Strive on!
Nothing deep or profound there, but when carefully unwrapped, deep and profound joy was found within.
Time to reread my book again.
It's good to take a long look back & a short look forward once in awhile, who I was and where this road may lead.
:-) :-) :-) :-) :-)

12 June 2019

*_*_*_* Street Drugs, Quality NOT Controlled vs. Alcohol, the Deadliest Drug *_*_*_*

The quality of street drugs is NOT controlled.People die every day and hour from ingesting, snorting and shooting up different substances than what they presume they had just purchased.
Alcohol IS a controlled substance. In my home state, Pennsylvania, liquor is sold by the state and monitored by a Liquor Control Board. You are certain of the quality and purity of every substance you purchase.
So alcohol is safer than street drugs, right?
Except for me.
It's not safe for me.
Not safe.
Presumably never was. A long, hard lesson had to be learned.
A 30-year look back on my drinking experience has proven to me beyond doubt that it is not safe for me to drink under any circumstances or conditions. Ever. No matter how many decades between sips. Alcoholism and its attendant consequences have always been progressive for me. My life has always gotten progressively worse each and every time I have picked up a drink.
No matter the purity and proof of the alcohol I might ingest, it's me who is out of control whenever i drink. I'm a blackout drinker who continues to drink well after my ability to form memories has evaporated. My brain's desire for all else dissipates.
Alcohol replaces what alcohol displaces.
Illusion, delusion and insanity ensue. The only gain is loss. And loss is all.
After years of sustained sobriety, all street drugs, alcohol and prescription drugs (except as prescribed by a doctor) are off my Wish List, Bucket List and a List of other Lists. With no illusion of control over addictive substances, my recovery continues to flourish in their absence.
Pretty Poison, Sweet Poison, My Alcohol is the Deadliest Drug of All.
Recovery is my substance.
You may also enjoy ALL DRINKING ASIDE: The Destruction, Deconstruction & Reconstruction of an Alcoholic Animal 
Find it on Amazon.com. Book it here: http://amzn.to/1bX6JyO 

08 June 2019

*_*_*_* I Turned into a Real Mister Thirsty *_*_*_*

"Sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don't," the TV jingle for Almond Joy & Mounds candy bars sings out. I find that so relatable, like the Insanity illustrated here. It seems to virtually run up and down my Family Tree and onto the far branches.
The nut doesn't fall far from the tree, as it were.
Once alcoholism had me in its evil clutches, it hardly seemed relevant which part of the Nature / Nurture Controversy rang truer.
Bells rang and like Pavlov's dog, I was off to the races.
My barstool nickname was Rusty, named after my beverage of choice, Rusty Nails. That heyday lasted a decade before being converted into plastic pints of the cheapest vodka available in a plain brown wrapper.
Not to be a Debbie Downer (of SNL fame), but if Insanity wasn't a little bit familiar to all of us, this Stroll would not be in the least bit Droll.
"We are not a glum lot" by a far shot!
Here, then, Rusty, Mister Thirsty and I Wish You All a Sane, Sober & a Little Bit Silly Weekend, All Drinking Aside.
You may also enjoy ALL DRINKING ASIDE: The Destruction, Deconstruction & Reconstruction of an Alcoholic Animal 
Find it on Amazon.com. Book it here: http://amzn.to/1bX6JyO 

30 May 2019

*_*_*_* FETAL Alcohol /FATAL Alcohol *_*_*_*


Let's take a whirlwind tour of the effects of Alcohol from BEFORE Birth to AFTER Death. Much will have to be glossed over, twisted and ignored to make it all conveniently fit into this short, sweet, easily digestible post for Social Media.
BEFORE Birth: Alcohol affects the unborn in a wide variety of ways, but fits comfortably under the umbrella of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD). Vision, hearing, heart defects, brain changes, problems with kidneys and bones, deformities of joints, limbs and fingers, reduced birth weight and height - ALL may be in some way damaged as the result of alcohol intake during pregnancy. No amount of alcohol consumption while pregnant is without risk.
All of this potential damage in the womb may be carried into the newly born and result in conditions that may, and likely will, last a lifetime. Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) cause physical and mental damage enough to last the life of the child. It is considered incurable, irreversible and may result in a lifetime of shortened attention span, hyperactivity, poor coordination, speech impairments, brain damage, antisocial behavior and more.
Because the fetus metabolizes alcohol through the umbilical cord at a slower rate, the pregnant mother is sometimes putting her unborn child at greater risk than herself. In the ideal world, a future mother should stop drinking alcohol before she gets pregnant....
That about covers BEFORE Birth.
(Hardly. Whirlwind Tour. Remember?)
AFTER Death will come crashing into us momentarily, but let's take a look at that brief period BETWEEN Birth and BEFORE Death. This is the period we call LIFE (you may have heard of it).
"A fish does not know the water. A bird does not know the sky " I did not know how much alcohol was in the cultural air I lived and breathed as I was growing up."Everyone drinks. Everyone drank. Everyone got drunk." That could have been my cultural mantra. My cultural mantra today is Recovery. I eat, breathe, drink and sleep Recovery.
Alright, alright, alright, alright.
This is too big of a story, this Alcohol BEFORE Birth to Alcohol AFTER Death. Too big of a story. Bigger than I am. I know. But here's how I got to this point: Today alone, on the Social Media, I was confronted by several deaths from alcohol and drugs, the opioid crisis, the drug crisis, binge drinking, drunk driving, and on and on.
Several deaths around me, surround me, on this one day alone. It is dizzying.
None close to me. No names I can remember. That hardly matters. Unless the death is of someone you know or knew or loved or lived with or... or... or... A life, many lives have been cut short.This is Alcohol AFTER Death, my heart drawn to the survivors of those who died today, their families and friends. Take a breath. The Aftermath. Take a breath. And another. And another.
From before Birth to after Death, the effects of Alcohol and Drugs are everywhere around me. "Fish gotta swim, birds gotta fly," I know that's true  But I also know this: It is NEVER TOO LATE to stop, NEVER TOO SOON to live free of... all of this. Never a time to lose hope, always the time to move forward.
Wherever you are, whomever you are, however you are, life will go on.
Breathe in, breathe out.
My whole damned point I guess is this: I did not drink today.
Reach out to whomever you have to, however you can.
I'm coming up on 15 years clean and sober this June.
30 years drunk.
Almost 15 years sober.
Join us. Join in. There's room for everyone in this fine air.
FETAL Alcohol / FATAL Alcohol. From Before Birth to After Death.
"Everyone drinks. Everyone drank. Everyone got drunk." It was a cultural thing.
My cultural thing today is Recovery. I eat, breathe, drink and sleep Recovery.
Take a breath.
We Are Always...
Join us. Join in.
There's room for everyone in this fine air.
Also, by this same author, you may also enjoy ALL DRINKING ASIDE: The Destruction, Deconstruction & Reconstruction of an Alcoholic Animal 
Find it on Amazon.com. Book it here: http://amzn.to/1bX6JyO 

28 May 2019

*_*_*_* A Silly, Happy, Little Poem *_*_*_*

(Music Radio Creative)

We are the poorest among you.
We are the richest among you.
Whatever your yardstick or metric is,
We are those things and more,
At both ends of measurable and

We are Recovery,
Blessed and cursed,
Extreme, at the center,
Straight forward, reversed,
The Topsy in Turvy,
The empty in full,
The fool in the wise man,
The sparkle in jewel.

We are Recovery,
In Recovery immersed.
Thank you for listening to our little verse.

We are among you,
Silent no more.
[This and other poems of Addiction & Recovery by the author of ALL DRINKING ASIDE are to be found on LinkedIn, here:

"A Universe of #Recovery Verse... "​ (13 favorites in order by title)

 https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/universe-recovery-verse-jim-anders/?published=t ]