18 January 2020

BECOMING UNBROKEN: Waves of Recovery*


"Some people who survive a life-altering disorder or experience develop special sensitivities, insights, and skills to help others similarly afflicted." - William L. White
*****
Striving to motivate others is fodder for my own recovery. Brick by brick, a life in recovery is built. Fast and slow, in uncertain measure, the days go by and years of recovery are built. 'It takes a village to raise a child' and I could not have been raised out of addiction (SUD Substance Use Disorder) by my own bootstraps alone.
I encourage courage because courage will be necessary.
Shared Courage was my Gateway Drug to Recovery.
My celebration is solemn, quiet and quieting.
Delete the scientific jargon and the religious jargon and pretty much the only thing left, for me, has been others. By myself alone, I am lost, or will and would become lost again.
I live in a perpetual feedback loop of recovery. No alphabet soup of the letters of diplomas or sworn testimonials by people of faith are enough alone to keep me sober.
Connection is key.
Recovery is constructed from the debris of the persistent pummeling that addiction has been. Recovery constructs itself out of nothingness.
*****
This short post is a single wave of recovery. I think of it as a single inhalation and exhalation. It is one continuous brushstroke forever repeated.
*****
Recovery is life itself to me.
*****
I will express another breath of it tomorrow or soon after.
For me, today, this is enough.
Becoming Unbroken: Waves of Recovery.
This single wave of recovery has broken on a sober shore.
And of this, I am sure: each sober day brings me closer to Becoming Unbroken.
*****
*I think, perhaps, my second book begins right here. To read my first, ALL DRINKING ASIDE: The Destruction, Deconstruction and Reconstruction of an Alcoholic Animal, click here: http://amzn.to/1bX6JyO
For thousands of Recovery Tweets: twitter.com/JimAnders4

21 December 2019

"The Destruction, Deconstruction and Reconstruction of an Alcoholic Animal"


(en.wikipedia.org)

In the far-flung future, when I will have written and rewritten this post several times, it will have become more refined, sculptured, recognizable. Memory of its original contents will have been altered in each subsequent remembering.
That's part of my point.
Let me proceed in rough-hewn form.
*****
The Dilophosaurus pictured here is a fairly complete fossil.
Not so the remains of the bones of memories from my drunken days.
Like the children's puzzle book, "Where's Waldo?," I would have to do much searching to reconstruct my 30 years of drinking into a recognizable form. 
The skeletal remains of my drunken days were incomplete. 
I was broken.
Addiction breaks everyone.
Those who remain have much reconstruction to do to put together a clean, sober and survivable sense of self, a life worth living.
*****
Go back to the title of this post, "The Destruction, Deconstruction and Reconstruction of an Alcoholic Animal." 
What do destruction, deconstruction and reconstruction have in common? Like any fan of "Where's Waldo?" might advise you, "Keep Looking!"
It's simple. The word "STRUCTURE" is buried deep (or not so deeply) within each of these words.
*****
Alcohol destroyed my life (structure destroyed).
What little was left would have to be held up to the light of day, examined for clues as to how it could have gone so well for so long until "by the time I had a reason to stop drinking, reason no longer had anything to do with it." 
I would have to deconstruct my past addiction to construct a life fully in recovery.
*****
Point to make: I did not even see the word "STRUCTURE" as the unifying element underlying my book's subtitle when it was first published. Such an awareness took time. 
Recovery, for me, has been, ultimately, about structure.
Strive on! 
*****
All Drinking Aside: The Destruction, Deconstruction and Reconstruction of an Alcoholic Animal.
It's beginning to make sense to me now.
I hope it serves you well as a tool in your Recovery Toolbox.
*****
ALL DRINKING ASIDE: The Destruction, Deconstruction & Reconstruction of an Alcoholic Animal
On Amazon.com. Book it here: http://amzn.to/1bX6JyO 

03 December 2019

Bipolar Disorder, Crystal Meth (& lest we forget... My Alcoholism)

"Bipolar disorder can be characterized by extreme mania followed by dark depression - but so can using crystal meth."- David Sheff in Clean, p. 242.
*****
My daily intake of alcohol followed a wide curve, a roller-coaster much as David Sheff expresses in the quote, above. Up, then down, Up, then down, my pattern of use and misuse continued for me emotionally, long after all alcohol was drained from my system. 
The first few drinks of alcohol elevated me until their accumulated effect was to bring me down. Up, Down, Pass Out, Come To. This pattern repeated itself daily for 30 years.
If three separate sheets of graph paper are drawn showing the up and down cycles of bipolar disorder, crystal meth use and alcoholism, they might (minus words of explanation) easily be mistaken for each other.
It's no wonder when I first got sober that I was misdiagnosed as having a bipolar disorder.
Long after a ship's engines are shut off, it will coast forward in the water under its own momentum before it slows to a stop.
After 30 years of daily drinking, the ups and downs produced by alcohol continued in my early sobriety. 
",,, extreme mania followed by dark depression" is only the slightest exaggeration of my worsening 30 year ride on a sea of alcohol.
*****
Stigma slows the treatment and recovery of these 3 disorders and a boatload of other disorders that I have not included here.
Be kind. Be kind. Be kind. To each and all.
No matter what boat you're on or off or in or out or under or around or through.
Be kind. Be kind. Be kind.
*****
"Nothing matters more than that we remain sober because when we remain sober everything matters more."
*****
#Alcoholism #Addiction #Recovery
*****
You may also enjoy my Autobiographical Fiction, ALL DRINKING ASIDE: The Destruction, Deconstruction & Reconstruction of an Alcoholic Animal
On Amazon.com. Book it here: http://amzn.to/1bX6JyO 

21 October 2019

MY BRAIN HAD A MIND OF ITS OWN

(cartoonstock.com)

Thank You, John Brooks Recovery Center for helping me separate myself from my addiction.
***************************************************************************
Without OTHERS, my Recovery would be un-doable & un-sustainable. In no time flat, I would be replaced by a Relapse (and unknown consequences leading up to and likely including death).
With the help of OTHERS (this is a very partial list) these are some of the stops on my trip to my life of Recovery:
JBRC (twice)
AtlantiCare Hospital (countless times)
Homeless Buddies in & out of Recovery (homeless twice)
Atlantic City Detox (back-in-the-day, twice)
Lakewood Hospital (extended stay)
Atlantic City Rescue Mission (twice, once sober, once not)
A.A.
N.A.
Al-Anon...
and with a Host of OTHERS, I have remained Clean & Sober....
Let me end by saying "THANKS!" to You and All the Many OTHERS without whom I would not even be here today!!!
*****
Recovery is doable, sustainable, irreplaceable.
Share the Riches of your Recovery.
I'd like to suggest that you consider donating some of your time &/or money to a favorite charity. Help others in the Emergence of Their New & Sober Selves.
(I am a John Brooks Recovery Center volunteer and have donated $10 to Jim's Birthday Fundraiser for John Brooks Recovery Center - A New Jersey Nonprofit Corporation).
Share the Wealth.
*****
Pause....
Move forward....
Give back....
Share.
*****
"Nothing matters more than that we remain sober because when we remain sober everything matters more."
*****
#Alcoholism #Addiction #Recovery
*****
You may also enjoy my Autobiographical Fiction, ALL DRINKING ASIDE: The Destruction, Deconstruction & Reconstruction of an Alcoholic Animal http://amzn.to/1bX6JyO 

07 October 2019

The Symbolic Emergence of a New & Sober Self (at JBRC)

(drugfoundation.org.nz)

"At my second two-week Rehab at the Institute for Human Development [now John Brooks Recovery Center (JBRC)], ... high on Librium as we detoxify on alcohol and other drugs, one guy gave five or six of us a new haircut, one after the other. That was the symbolic start of the emergence of a new and sober self for me. An aboriginal ritual. 'Today you are a man. Free of alcohol and drugs. Go forth. Build a new life.' None of that was said aloud, of course, and the symbol of the haircut and the reality of the haircut were quite different things.
Am I splitting hairs?
Yes, but wisely (Har-de-har-har hair)."
*****
And 'build a new life' indeed, I did.
*****
Without OTHERS, my Recovery would be un-doable & un-sustainable. In no time flat, I would be replaced by a Relapse (and unknown consequences leading up to and likely including death).
With the help of OTHERS (this is a very partial list) these are some of the stops on my trip to my life of Recovery:
JBRC (twice)
AtlantiCare Hospital (countless times)
Homeless Buddies in & out of Recovery (homeless twice)
Atlantic City Detox (back-in-the-day, twice)
Lakewood Hospital (extended stay)
Atlantic City Rescue Mission (twice, once sober, once not)
A.A.
N.A.
Al-Anon...
and with a Host of OTHERS, I have remained Clean & Sober....
Let me end by saying "THANKS!" to You and All the Many OTHERS without whom I would not even be here today!!!
*****
Recovery is doable, sustainable, irreplaceable.
Share the Riches of your Recovery.
I'd like to suggest that you consider donating some of your time &/or money to a favorite charity. Help others in the Emergence of Their New & Sober Selves.
(I am a John Brooks Recovery Center volunteer and have donated $10 to Jim's Birthday Fundraiser for John Brooks Recovery Center - A New Jersey Nonprofit Corporation).
Share the Wealth.
*****
Pause....
Move forward....
Give back....
Share.
*****
"Nothing matters more than that we remain sober because when we remain sober everything matters more."
*****
#Alcoholism #Addiction #Recovery
*****
The quote at the beginning of this post is from my Autobiographical Fiction: ALL DRINKING ASIDE: The Destruction, Deconstruction & Reconstruction of an Alcoholic Animal http://amzn.to/1bX6JyO 

05 October 2019

VIRTUE IS ITS OWN REWARD



*****
"Virtue is its own reward, addiction its own punishment." - Jim Anders, All Drinking Aside, p. 273
*****
Reward yourself by making a donation to John Brooks Recovery Center. Your Virtuous Generosity will Help the Human Need to Relieve the Punishment that Addiction is & Help Many in Their Recovery Quest.
*****
"No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted." - Aesop, as quoted in All Drinking Aside, p. 273
*****
THANK YOU!
*****
Here is a link to my Autobiographical Fiction: ALL DRINKING ASIDE: The Destruction, Deconstruction & Reconstruction of an Alcoholic Animal http://amzn.to/1bX6JyO 

30 September 2019

RECOVERY OPTIONS: A, B, C... H, I, J... R, S, T... +, &, +...

(moneymorning.com)

Many Roads lead to Recovery.
Whatever your faith or lack thereof:
Atheism, 
Buddhism, 
Christianity...
Hinduism, 
Islam, 
Judaism...
Religion, 
Spirituality, 
Theology.
Whether you believe in this or that or the other (or not), Recovery (at least in my experience) will take persistence, perseverance and (in my case) shared courage. 
I thought I was in it for the long haul when I first got clean & sober 23 years ago. Yet eight years & several relapses preceded my 15 years of continuous sobriety. 
*****
There are many roads that may lead one to a successful, satisfying and sustainable recovery and many questions that will crop up along the way:
Must you hit bottom first?
Is abstinence only the only answer?
Is harm-reduction hypocrisy in disguise or a spin-off of the Hippocratic Oath?
What about MAT (Medication Assisted Treatment)?
Faith-based or evidence-based Recovery?
What will best help each individual on their Road to Recovery?
*****
I seem to have few, if any answers for someone new to Recovery, but here are a few that may well be first considerations:
Where are you at now?
What do you need?
What do you want?
What are your hopes and dreams?
What is your plan? 
Let's make a plan. 
Who? What? When? Where? Why? & How?
What are your options? Are there better options? Have you considered this? Or that? Or an other?
What are your short-term plans? Long-term plans? 
What are your obstacles? How might you overcome them?
*****
"Everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler." - Albert Einstein
*****
Everything that precedes this quote by Einstein is an over-simplification. Recovery is complex, irreducibly complex. Recovery is different for every person. 
*****
Find your joy.
Explore Recovery.
Celebrate a life in Recovery.
Yours, Mine, Ours.
*****
"It is well to remember that the entire universe, with one trifling exception, is composed of others." - John Andrew Holmes
*****
Without OTHERS, my Recovery would be un-doable & un-sustainable. In no time flat, I would be replaced by a Relapse (and unknown consequences leading up to and likely including death).
With the help of OTHERS (this is a very partial list) these are some of the stops on my trip to my life of Recovery:
JBRC (twice)
AtlantiCare Hospital (countless times)
Homeless Buddies in & out of Recovery (homeless twice)
Atlantic City Detox (back-in-the-day, twice)
Lakewood Hospital (extended stay)
Atlantic City Rescue Mission (twice, once sober, once not)
A.A.
N.A.
Al-Anon...
and with a Host of OTHERS, I have remained Clean & Sober....
Let me end by saying "THANKS!" to You and All the Many OTHERS without whom I would not even be here today!!!
*****
Recovery is doable, sustainable, irreplaceable.
Share the Riches of your Recovery.
I'd like to suggest that you consider donating some of your time &/or money to a favorite charity.
(I am a John Brooks Recovery Center volunteer and have donated $10 to Jim's Birthday Fundraiser for John Brooks Recovery Center - A New Jersey Nonprofit Corporation).
Share the Wealth.
*****
Pause....
Move forward....
Give back....
Share.
*****
"Nothing matters more than that we remain sober because when we remain sober everything matters more."
*****
#Alcoholism #Addiction #Recovery
*****
Here is a link to my Autobiographical Fiction: ALL DRINKING ASIDE: The Destruction, Deconstruction & Reconstruction of an Alcoholic Animal http://amzn.to/1bX6JyO 


27 September 2019

SURVIVOR'S GUILT / "AN EMBARRASSMENT OF RICHES"*

(pixabay.com)

So many die.
Some few of us live.
The exact statistics are unimportant here.
I am but an example of the lucky ones.
*****
Survivor's Guilt has likely stricken each of us who are lucky enough to have survived a Substance Use Disorder (SUD). Like sole survivors of a plane crash, we pick ourselves up from the debris which remains in Addiction's wake, survey the wreckage of our past and ask an audience of one, "Why me?"
*****
The words "An Embarrassment of Riches" (the title of a book unrelated to Recovery) capture some small sense of how I sometimes feel about my Recovery.
On one hand, I've been embarrassed by how little Addiction left me with (after pilfering my bank account, bringing my cash reserves to zero, time and again). 
On the other hand, I feel so overjoyed by the richness of my life in Recovery that at times it can feel more than just a little bit embarrassing.
If you count yourself as one of the lucky ones in your embarrassment of riches, share your wealth as I do. Spread the word that Recovery is doable,sustainable, irreplaceable.
Share your Embarrassment of  the Riches of Recovery.
Consider making a donation of time (I am a John Brooks Recovery Center volunteer) to your favorite charity or making a donation of money (I have donated $10 to Jim's Birthday Fundraiser for John Brooks Recovery Center A New Jersey Nonprofit Corporation).
End your Embarrassment of Riches.
Share the Wealth (Recovery is doable, sustainable, irreplaceable).
*****
Pause....
Move forward....
Give back....
Share.
*****
"Nothing matters more than that we remain sober because when we remain sober everything matters more."
*****
#Alcoholism #Addiction #Recovery
*****
Here is a link to my Autobiographical Fiction: ALL DRINKING ASIDE: The Destruction, Deconstruction & Reconstruction of an Alcoholic Animal http://amzn.to/1bX6JyO 

16 September 2019

"HEALING: Preparing for the Next Wound"


(lizarch.com)

"A man who suffers before it is necessary suffers more than is necessary." - Seneca

"Worry is like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do, but doesn't get you anywhere." - Anonymous
*****
Learning to live without the next drink prepared me for whatever battles I will have had to face without that drink. And I've had plenty.
My Recovery from Alcoholism prepared me for my diagnosis, treatment and eventual Recovery from Cancer. 
"HEALING: Preparing for the Next Wound" may sound a bit Ouch-y!, but life is tough and as a young kid, the only tools in my toolbox were alcohol and other drugs. I would and did get through practically everything with a drink in my hand.
Alcohol was my solution to everything, yet it solved nothing (much like worry in the opening anonymous quote). And alcohol, so much like any other addictive substance, caused me unnecessary suffering, much more, in most cases, than any pain it was attempting to offset or relieve. 
I used alcohol preemptively to kill the pain of any impending doom I may have anticipated. As a preemptive measure, alcohol failed miserably. 
Addiction is a cul-de-sac, a road with no apparent end or escape.
RECOVERY. RECOVERY. RECOVERY. 
Recovery is healing, learning to cope with all of life's issues, large and small, without dependence on a substance to deaden any possible future pains.
"HEALING: Preparing for the Next Wound" is another way of saying that Recovery taught me to live life on life's terms. 
After overcoming alcohol, cancer was a little bump in the road compared to what it may have been had I not learned to survive my Substance Use Disorder (SUD) first.
Nothing about Addiction is empowering, but Recovery from Addiction IS empowering.
RESILIENCE: Recovery taught me resilience. 
And the Next Wound?
I am Ready. I am Willing. I am Able.
ALCOHOLISM: Loving to drink. Living to drink. Dying to drink. Dying from drinking.
RECOVERY: Wanting to live. Learning to live. Loving to live. Living with love.
Addiction prepared me for nothing. Recovery has prepared me for everything.
Period.
*****
[Please NOTE: The quotes excerpted here are two of the 180 found in All Drinking Aside: The Destruction, Deconstruction & Reconstruction of an Alcoholic Animal]
On Amazon.com. Book it here: http://amzn.to/1bX6JyO 

14 September 2019

"I GOT MY MOMMY BACK!"


A child may not know all of the facts, theories or nuances of Addiction and Recovery. All she may know for sure is that "I Got My Mommy Back!" and her realization that one of her many nightmares and sleepless nights and crying may now be put to rest.
*****
Addiction Dissolves Human Connection.
Recovery Reunites.
Recovery proclaims "Welcome back. You have returned to the Human Race. You are the Face of Recovery."
*****
The reunification of this mother and this child grabbed me to the quick.
Addiction had separated these two as Addiction separates anyone from themselves and from the world-at-large.
*****
CELEBRATE!!!
*****
[The National Institute on Drug Abuse estimates that more than one in eight American children are raised by one or more parents or guardians who have a (SUD) Substance Use Disorder.]
*****
To these two (and to you, and yes, even to myself) I wish to offer my thanks for this Gentle and Strong Reminder that Change is Always Possible....
"You Are Not Alone."
Thank you for your Courage.
May your Resilience Reign.
Let Us all Continue to Connect in this Most Very Human Way.
*****
Addiction be Damned!
She got her Mommy back.
*****
(& Thanks for Giving me an Extra Helping of Hope!)