23 March 2019

*_*_*_* "Whatever #Power is, That's What #Addiction Steals"​ (a personal favorite) *_*_*_*


Within the framework of my first 1,000 days of recovery, I sat alone in the back of the room, still green in my newfound sobriety, completely drained, the sounds of the 12-step group fading into silence. Nothing was left and in that stillness, three words entered my head, almost as if spoken aloud, after which I, without forethought, flashed to a childhood memory on a cool summer morning....
Those three words were "Addiction Steals Power."
I found myself transported, standing outside my childhood home, awestruck, watching an aluminum disc circling around inside its glass protective globe, clicking off the electric use for the meter reader's next visit. It was like a watch, but instead of measuring time, it was measuring power. Well, whatever power is, that's what addiction steals.
More brashly, I could say that addiction sucks the life right out of you, but that would be incorrect. It is silent and subtle and seemingly harmless, like the lightweight aluminum disc described above.
Addiction steals time, too, in concert and by differing degrees and metrics. Like hydrogen and oxygen, they cascade over an obscure tipping point at which point "I am an alcoholic and I am powerless" takes on new measures of meaning.
*****
Recovery, for me, has been all about recovering what can be recovered, what has not been completely destroyed, and accepting the responsibility of reconstructing a life so deconstructed.
A new life, a sober life, unknown to me, awaited. It took twice a thousand days to feel myself moving forward, unfettered by the different drumbeats of addiction, sometimes clamoring, sometimes whispering that a drink would somehow solve anything and everything.
***** 
Inside that larger globe called living sober that blossomed and continues to bloom, the sky's protective arc stretches beyond all horizons and the disc, within, circling, is gratitude. The power, now, is serenity in moments immeasurable.
"Addiction Steals Power" is no longer true. Addiction Stole Power, past tense, is this day's truth. Today, I glide toward endless horizons of continuing Recovery. Today, "Nothing matters more than that we remain sober because when we remain sober everything matters more." Today, even my memory of a child on a cool summer morning watching in awe as a small aluminum disc spun 'round is a fulfilling memory only in sobriety.
For me, one drink would destroy all memories, past and yet to come.... Recovery, now, is serenity in moments immeasurable.
Alcohol stole power many yesterdays ago. Recovery is the way I go today, cool, calm, sober, serene. Recovery, now, is serenity in moments immeasurable.
Recovery IS power.
*****
#Alcoholism #Addiction #Recovery
*****
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 
Recovery Tweets: https://twitter.com/JimAnders4  


22 March 2019

*_ *_ *_ * The Power of Reciprocity: Situational Ethics? *_*_*_*

(magneto.net.au)

"... 30 years later an extensive body of scientific evidence would emerge on the therapeutic effects of helping in groups such as AA. Sometime we help most by encouraging people out of the helpee role and into the helper role. Historically, letting those we serve help us would be considered a boundary violation and a breach of professional ethics. Do you think there are circumstances in which that position needs to be re-evaluated?" - William L. White, "Recovery Rising," p. 55
*****
My response to William L. White's question, as the Headline for this post indicates, is that it depends on the situation. As an example, someone in my AA group was feeling so helpless that they were unable to see that (as true as that may have been) they were still able to help others (specifically, me!). Proving the power of reciprocity to him opened a door, a window, a pathway that in his helplessness he had not seen before. His ice of self-pity began to melt and he could finally see that he was in the Springtime of his recovery.
*****
"Nothing matters more than that we remain sober because when we remain sober everything matters more." 
*****
#Alcoholism #Addiction #Recovery
*****
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 
Recovery Tweets: https://twitter.com/JimAnders4  

17 March 2019

*_*_*_* "Addicted to the Culture of #Addiction" *_*_*_*

(cnn.com)

"I slowly came to appreciate that many people were addicted to the culture of addiction and the needs they got met there as they were to the drugs that were the centerpiece of that culture. It became clear that recovery was more than severing a person-drug relationship. It was often a process of disengaging a person from a culture that had met a broad spectrum of their needs and, in the process, transformed their character and identity." - William L. White, "Recovery Rising," p. 51
**********
When I first got clean and sober in 1996, before 8 years of recovery groups being a revolving door back into the nearest barroom, I attended a Narcotics Anonymous meeting that left me shocked and amazed by a guy who claimed that he was addicted to selling drugs, but did not use drugs himself.
Drug Dealers Anonymous.
There is no such group, but this guy was not exactly a square peg in a round hole, was he?
In a manner of speaking, he belonged in N.A. as much or more than I did. After all, I was predominantly addicted to alcohol, a legal drug, and spent my drinking career on a bar stool (the illegal drugs were delivered to me so I wouldn't have to rub elbows with the drug trade: I was better than that, or so I once thought).
**********
Shortly after my last relapse in 2004 I had become friends and eventual A.A. Sponsor to a guy I'll call Mike who was in recovery from his addiction to crack cocaine. It took quite some time in our early friendship for him to finally admit to me something that at that time seemed highly unusual. He had a rap sheet a mile long for various crimes of which I'll omit here. It's so simple to imagine that a drug addiction could lead to a life of crime as the tolerance for a drug increases, isn't it?
Join me in being so wrong.
Mike's addiction to crack cocaine was the direct result of his addiction to criminal activity. Mike had never used cocaine or even thought of trying it until the underground culture of crime he was involved in introduced him to cocaine.
Culture PRECEDED drug use.
Were he to remain clean and sober from his cocaine use, his attraction to crime culture would most definitely have to be addressed (or at least be replaced by the culture of recovery found within the walls of A.A., N.A., SMART Recovery or the like).
**********
I tended bar my first year sober and eventually relapsed. I was sucked into the culture of addiction long before I swallowed that first deadly drink.
Yada. Yada. Yada.
Let me close with this:
**********
"I came to understand that you could not disengage people from a drug culture unless you could offer entrance into an alternative culture capable of meeting the same needs met in the drug culture. That insight was crucial to my thinking about cultures of recovery and their role in the long-term recovery process." - William L. White, "Recovery Rising," p. 57
*****
"Nothing matters more than that we remain sober because when we remain sober everything matters more." 
*****
#Alcoholism #Addiction #Recovery
*****
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 
Recovery Tweets: https://twitter.com/JimAnders4  
88+ Recovery Posts on LinkedIn here: https://goo.gl/fmzt9b


11 March 2019

*_*_*_* "FASHIONABLE ADDICTIONS" *_*_*_*

(discovermni.com)

My first post on this Recovery Coach page requires a short Introduction:
Firstly, I'm not a Doctor, although I've exasperated quite a few. Secondly, my intent with this and future posts is to start with a Quote by William L. White (a Keystone of Recovery Coaching's foundation) followed by the thoughts and feelings which that particular quote has inspired me to share. And Thirdly, I invite anyone who reads it to comment, adding their own reflections, to agree to disagree where applicable and to add their flavors to Our Recovery Broth.
Because this is a Private Group, a link will be provided at the bottom of the post should you decide to copy and past on other pages or social media (Note that this link will never include anyone's comments from this Private Group after I first post it).
Below the next colon [:] is the complete text to this first post, immediately followed by the link:

*_*_*_* "FASHIONABLE ADDICTIONS" *_*_*_*

"The effects of continued amphetamine use were subtle in the first year [circa mid-1960's], and I recall no one voicing any suspicions of such use. Consciousness about drug use was not what it is today." - William L. White, Recovery Rising, p.7.
**********
I know it is just short of rude and perhaps politically incorrect to call any addiction Fashionable, but drug use has surges in popularity with waves of addiction in their wake.
Crack cocaine, for example, is no longer at its peak, but you will still be able to find some in any inner-city, perhaps more easily than one might procure a bag of fresh asparagus.
It depends on what you're hunting for.
Most readers of this post likely have never heard of Black Beauties (a form of amphetamine readily available at the time of the Bill White Quote which opens this post). 
My introduction to amphetamines was during this time and enough women and a few men found diet pills easily accessible. Many in my sub-culture took Black Beauties as a study aid. These pills killed my appetite and left me immobile on a comfortable chair reading Moby Dick in one continuous string from beginning to end. Amphetamines seemed to suck every ounce of available energy from my body while simultaneously fueling an energy all its own. For me, crash and burn fits post-amphetamine effects more so than any other drug in my arsenal. 
Black Beauties fell out of fashion along with my then-trendy multi-patched bell-bottom jeans. You see, drugs come and go, fashionable one day and out of fashion the next. But for many, and sometimes most, the addictions that drugs create are not so easily left behind as the ever-changing popularity of different drugs wax and wane.
Meth (methamphetamines) has made a huge resurgence of late with different names, different toxicities and additives... and different victims.
Moby Dick (& other whales and other drugs) rises above the waves with great spouts from his blowhole and dives deep to once again re-emerge too soon.
For me, the constant sea was a sea of alcohol and today I breathe free on dry land still learning to tie and untie knots, for myself, for others... on the sober shores.
There is still much peace to be found as you and I and they find more of us on solid ground.

22 February 2019

#Denial, Done... #Stigma, Undone... #Recovery Won

The stigma of alcoholism and addiction and the hatred and ignorance behind it have forced many of us to hide our addictions behind walls of denial.
*****
The sober ones, the ones for whom drinking and drugs have never been a problem ask each other "Why doesn't he just stop?"
And when we finally got clean and sober, we met behind closed doors because some of us had to protect our dirty little secrets.
"You'll never be anything but a drunk," some of them said. So some of us carried our secrets hidden from them even after we got clean and sober.
*****
The scabs that are the stigmas of addiction (and recovery) will not heal by retaliation. A well-placed "Drop Dead!" simply won't do. 
BUT the stigma of addiction is slowly being undone. Being in recovery becomes a state of liberation when it is shared with others, admitted, discussed. The cloak of addiction is unraveled and revealed by the evidence of science and acts of kindness. A few kind words may go a long way in bridging the gap between hatred and misunderstanding.
There is a certain backlash occurring in the political sector from which I presently recoil. I don't want to see any progress made in the recovery movement lost to a changing political climate. Whether it be progress ON addiction or the progress OF addiction, I realize that progress is never straight forward (or straight downward).
As a member of the recovering community, I feel I have to dig deeper trenches, strengthen my foundation in recovery and continue to speak out against stigma and in favor of greater progress and social acceptance for the recovering communities.
*****
WE and THEY, US and THEM, will one day be ALL of US. The Common Good will eventually triumph. I've seen so much positive change in my own lifetime that I feel the future holds great promise. We need to air our thoughts and feelings, not to stuff them. For me, personally, anonymity is an old, old shoe which no longer fits the person I have become after well-over a dozen years of sobriety. Fourteen, to be exact. "Yard by yard, it's hard. Inch by inch, it's a cinch" is perhaps an overstatement, but I, for one, truly believe that the butterfly effect will be realized as millions and millions more emerge from their cocoons of recovery from addiction.
Millions more will become the fulcrum that will move the world. History is on the side of progress so, from where I sit, things are looking up.
*****
"These people don't deserve... "
"These people can't... "
"These people won't..."
*****
14 years sober and I continue to heal.
These People Can, Do & Will.
*****
"Nothing matters more than that we remain sober because when we remain sober everything matters more." 
*****
#Alcoholism #Addiction #Recovery
*****
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 
Recovery Tweets: https://twitter.com/JimAnders4  
88+ Recovery Posts on LinkedIn here: https://goo.gl/fmzt9b

30 January 2019

Worried by Alcoholism? I Wasn't.... (Worry is Like a Rocking Chair... )


"Worry is like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do, but it doesn't get you anywhere."
- Anonymous
*****
For at least the first decade of my drinking career, calling myself an alcoholic, at least to the people sitting on the barstools next to me, was not a problem. Bragging rights. "I don't know how I got home, I was so messed up." Expressions like these were commonplace. But by the second decade, I started losing coats, keys, apartments, jobs. The progression of alcoholism with all its subtle and in-your-face changes is not a straight downward descent. It is marked by peaks and valleys. My third decade of drinking was littered with lapses in employment and housing. That new normal required that I drink at home, alone, when I had a home. By that time, I was not worried by alcoholism, I was worried about the next drink. Increasingly I drank more. My blackouts would occur around the end of the sixth drink and I would continue to drink until I passed out, usually two or three hours later, by my recollection.
"The further alcohol took me away from myself, the less I understood that I was losing my foothold. From the outside, I am sure it looked like I was becoming more and more selfish, but increasingly, I was not feeding myself, i was feeding my disease. The more selfish I may have appeared, the more my disease had dissolved my self away."
Not worrying in my addiction was really a form of defeatism. In recovery, not worrying is a positive thing. 
Recovery: Do the next right thing, the next right thing. 
No worry.
End of story.
*****
#Alcoholism #Addiction #Recovery
*****
The passage in quotes, above, is from ALL DRINKING ASIDE.
I hope that this post will serve as a bridge, a window and a door
to what you will find there....
*****
ALL DRINKING ASIDE: The Destruction, Deconstruction & Reconstruction
of an Alcoholic Animal
Find it on Amazon.com. Book it here: https://goo.gl/ycu5jg
Recovery Tweets here: http://twitter.com/JimAnders4
99+ Recovery Posts onLinkedIn here: https://goo.gl/fmzt9b

The #Illusion of #Control, All the While Drowning in a Sea of #Alcohol, has Dissipated on a Sober Shore


*****
"In control. Out of control. The illusion of control. Only an alcoholic has this perpetually deepening illusion of control despite continually worsening negative consequences. The disease is hard at work. Social drinkers do not think like this. 
'Why doesn't he just stop?' 
The social drinker does not understand this alcoholic insanity.
The die may have been cast at Jim's birth, through heredity, but each drink slowly soldered shut some door. 
Slowly. 
Soldered. 
Shut." - (Vatchi, one of the 3 Fictional Characters of All Drinking Aside)
*****
My eventual surrender to the fact I am an alcoholic (whose best decision is to abstain from alcohol in any and all forms) took me several relapses and 8 years of continuous, unrelenting struggle. Addiction divides our world and divides and redivides the addict, making mincemeat of flesh and human heartbeats. My indomitable spirit could not surrender against the tide of 50,000 drinks and untold consequences. "The bird does not know the sky" and I, blinded, did not know the depths of the sea of alcohol in which I swam. I did not breathe oxygen. The air itself was alcohol as I was propelled to the bottom, gasping for breath. I would somehow live to see past this dying, naked figure on the bottom of that ocean, drinking more to somehow save itself.
My undoing took time. 
A sustained and sober pattern of breathing took years of effort and practice. This new and sober resilience would be learned and the way I was... unlearned, relearned.
Easy, relaxed patterns of living emerged slowly. What seemed impossible in the drink became possible in recovery. 
Surrender to win. 
Sweet surrender. 
Let a new life begin now and now, a green emergence in the sylvan sky. Released....
The illusion of control over drinking, while once drowning in a sea of alcohol, has long dissipated. Dissipated, yet never fully gone, always the possibility of this illusion's resurgence. 
Now and now, sobriety's sustained peace in the cradled arms of recovery, the echo of waves, beached finally on this human shore. Breathing unlearned, relearned and learned again. This sea is free of alcohol once more.
Breathe in sobriety's intoxication, real, illusion-free.
Breathe out... another day is born.
*****
#Alcoholism #Addiction #Recovery
*****
"Nothing matters more than that we remain sober because when we remain sober everything matters more."
*****
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 
Recovery Tweets: https://twitter.com/JimAnders4  
99+ Recovery Posts on LinkedIn here: https://goo.gl/fmzt9b