12 January 2018

THOUGHT EXPERIMENT: Are YOU the Fifteenth Stone?


In youth, I sought self-knowledge by pluck and luck, striving to uncover a self-identity. Getting nowhere fast, my self-knowledge was obscured, blurred and most certainly delayed by the 30-year chemical assault of alcohol and other drugs on my spirit, my body and my brain. Where I picked myself up after that 30-year onslaught on my senses ended was not where I left off as a teen. When I got off the bus after my first rehab hospital, I felt like I had entered a personal, futureless wasteland. Lost, directionless. Somehow, I began. My recovery has been a long, continuing journey of who... how... when. 
Early in my recovery, I ran across this THOUGHT EXPERIMENT (source unknown):

"Somewhere, Japan or China, who knows? San Francisco? A garden exists somewhere, a rock garden: let's say the size of a tennis court. You can walk completely around it, but you are not allowed to cross its borders. This rock garden contains fifteen large stones of varying sizes, say, knee to chest high. And this rock garden is so constructed that no matter where you stand on the garden's perimeter, only fourteen of the stones are ever visible. One stone, forever changing, is always hidden from view. Fifteen stones in the garden, and no matter where you stand, only fourteen are visible."
*****
The possibilities of sober tomorrows are the unknown treasures at my feet. Torn apart, destroyed, by substance or by self, by fear or doubt or a thousand endless emotions known and unknowable, I am here to stay, for now, for this one day.
Seek, strive on, celebrate!
The chemical assault is over, has been over, will continue to be... Over!
My Fifteenth Stone... Unstoned at Last!


*****
Pictured: (Derbies' Twist Modern Stone Circle: Fallmore, Ireland. Photographed by Pierre Lapointe on Pinterest)

*****
"Nothing matters more than that we remain sober because when we remain sober everything matters more." 
*****
#Alcoholism #Addiction #Recovery
*****
Passages in quotes are excerpted from All Drinking Aside: The Destruction, Deconstruction & Reconstruction of an Alcoholic Animal
 http://amzn.to/1bX6JyO
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07 January 2018

Reviewer, Raised by Alcoholics, is Uplifted by ALL DRINKING ASIDE 5***** Stars


As a student of chemical dependency and an adult who suffered through being raised by an alcoholic mother and father, All Drinking Aside by Jim Anders traverses new and previously uncharted territory for me: Seeing life through the eyes of an alcoholic. This self-proclaimed work of autobiographical fiction introduces you to Jim, and as the old adage goes: To love him is to hate him! His vivid descriptions which lay the bricks for the foundational understanding of himself as the main character are dichotomously negated with the absurdly casual mention of his sister’s death from alcoholism. 
It is this desensitization which allowed Jim to slip so far into his illness, and he is right to include it in the book. Yet it is this aforementioned dichotomy which ultimately makes the reader yearn to read more about Jim, to learn more about him, and to absorb his “metamorphosis of change” (p. 55) alongside him. His creation of three quasi-Jungian archetypal figures as commentators serves to enhance the rhetorical analyses of both his condition and states of mind at various times in his life. They serve their purpose well as does the book: They make one look “longer, harder, wider, and deeper than ever would seem otherwise possible” (p. 97) when daring to ask oneself, “What is it truly like to be an alcoholic?” Jim Anders answers that question for the reader without “romanticizing his phantoms” (p. 133) as so many autobiographers often unwittingly do. All Drinking Aside is clearly not a book to miss and certainly not one I will soon forget. I will take it with me in my academic circles and in my work with future patients. My thoughts are often with Jim as he continues his recovery through interaction with the learned community, and I am grateful to be part of it. ~~ Vilma Reyes
*****
"Nothing matters more than that we remain sober because when we remain sober everything matters more."
*****
#Alcoholism #Addiction #Recovery
*****
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Anonymity about Addiction is Slowly Melting. Progress Drinks In These Waters.


I live somewhere here between the next two sentences:
1) Just because you can see it in the rear view mirror does not mean that it was inevitable.
2) Just because you lived it does not mean that the next generation must.
*****
That places me somewhere tenuous in time. And such I live. A life precarious, as all lives are and so must be. 
*****
Growing up, addiction was almost unheard of and alcoholism was a word to be only whispered. Uncle Ned didn't go to a sanatorium to dry out. He "had a nervous breakdown..." or so we were told.
The disgrace of addiction, to me, is not the person who suffers from it, but rather, the misperceptions of the larger culture that has ignored, distorted or kept silent about its causes and conditions while the sufferer has been simultaneously ignored, shunned or disgraced.
The enigma of this stigma surrounding addiction is nearly impossible for me to completely understand and explain. But let me say this: You don't have to be an addict or alcoholic to be a recovery advocate....
The stigma of addiction is slowly being dissolved. Everyone seems to be slowly learning that recovery is possible, doable and desirable. And although there are still many personal and professional reasons for one to remain anonymous, I am no longer that. Anonymity has consequences for the world-at-large. It may help sustain, amplify and perpetuate the stigma. Anonymity will not solve the stigma. When you are ready (I am ready), the stigma of addiction will be slowly chipped away and dissolve. I am now strong enough and stable enough and realistic enough to humbly proclaim (I can hold myself back no longer):
My name is Jim and I am an alcoholic living in long-term recovery.
Addiction: Ignorance, Distortion... Silence?
I DON'T THINK SO. I DON'T LIVE SO.
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.
Ignorance, Distortion... Silence.
Say it isn't so.
It isn't so.
"My name is Jim and I am an alcoholic living in long-term recovery."
*****
Just because you can see it in the rear view mirror does not mean that it was inevitable and just because you lived it does not mean that the next generation must.
A beautiful bird lives out there and I have held it in my brain's momentary madness.
Hold it in yours, let it flower, pass it on.



*****
"Nothing matters more than that we remain sober because when we remain sober everything matters more."
*****
#Alcoholism #Addiction #Recovery
*****
The passages in quotes are excerpted from ALL DRINKING ASIDE: 
The Destruction, Deconstruction and Reconstruction of An Alcoholic Animal http://amzn.to/1bX6JyO
Recovery Tweets: http://twitter.com/JimAnders4
140+ Recovery Posts: https://goo.gl/fmzt9b

02 January 2018

1st 5***** Star Review of 2018 Shines a Light for "All of Us" to Read ALL DRINKING ASIDE


on January 2, 2018
Great book! Honest and insightful, provides a unique perspective that can be 
appreciated by heavy drinkers, teetotalers, and all of us in between. A witty,
good read.
*****
#Alcoholism #Addiction #Recovery
*****
Look here for all 30+ Five Star Reviews of ALL DRINKING ASIDE: 
The Destruction, Deconstruction and Reconstruction of An Alcoholic Animal
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140+ Recovery Posts: https://goo.gl/fmzt9b


01 January 2018

3 Pieces from the Puzzle of What Once Was: A Witless Sampler


Just because you can see it in the rear view mirror does not mean it was inevitable. 
Just because you lived it does not mean the next generation must.
*****
3 Perspectives on Addiction:
*****
A Blind Man Descending a Spiral Staircase Leading to Nowhere:
"My brain knows my disease. My brain loves my disease and my brain will never forget my disease because my disease has carved permanent grooves into my brain that no amount of sobriety can ever putty shut. The grooves in my brain lay waiting for me to pick up again so that the grooves can progressively deepen. I must depend on the help of others. Acting alone, I will be devoured by my disease. For addicts, alcohol will devour memories of the past and anxiety about the future, drowning them in the unreal, insane world of addiction. A living lobotomy. A blind man descending a spiral staircase leading to nowhere. No past. No present. No future. Addiction will survive by eating you alive."
*****
Scratch the Surface Until the Truth Runs Clear:
"Here you are drunk and walking the hallways of the Taj Mahal Casino, picking cigarette butts out of ashtrays. You break off the filters and re-roll the butt ends with new cigarette papers. This is a way to survive, to think that you're surviving. This is when the only food is the juice in this vodka and cranberry. This is when it takes you two solid hours to get out of bed and put on a pair of shoes. This is when there is no next drink, there is just this one long drink that goes on forever. This is where there is no up or down and you can only move sideways. This is where waking up is like falling through a stage prop wall. This is where you carry your addictions in a cardboard box as if you were moving to another location. This is finding no location and the box is empty. This is standing and not being able to move. This is drunk and crashing, falling, falling through a bottom, tumbling. This is where a hospital wakes you up and you do not know who you are or where you are..." 
Scratch the surface until the truth runs clear.
*****

Different Pasts / Different Paths:

"My younger sister's addictions came on harder, faster, and stronger than mine. A certain frailty, susceptibility, took over Betty sooner than it took over me. Our common genetic predisposition could have led to my death instead of her suicide, but that's not the way the addiction balls bounced. We had become too distant, detached. Our addictions kept us apart. I dissolved into mine. She dissolved into hers. There was no "We" as "She" and "I" dissolved into our addictions. It was distance that kept us apart. Not the distance between Pennsylvania and New Jersey. The distance of disease, if you please. The distance of disease if you don't please."
*****
Just because you can see it in the rear view mirror does not mean it was inevitable. 
Just because you lived it does not mean the next generation must.

*****
"Nothing matters more than that we remain sober because when we remain sober everything matters more."
*****
#Alcoholism #Addiction #Recovery
*****
The passages in quotes are excerpted from ALL DRINKING ASIDE: 
The Destruction, Deconstruction and Reconstruction of An Alcoholic Animal http://amzn.to/1bX6JyO
Recovery Tweets: http://twitter.com/JimAnders4
140+ Recovery Posts: https://goo.gl/fmzt9b

In depth, Insightful Review Inside ALL DRINKING ASIDE


5.0 out of 5 stars

Creative disclosure highly relevant and recommended
By Eloise 
Written as an autobiographical fiction, the author discusses his long struggle with alcohol addiction, his gradual acknowledgment and understanding of the disease, and his eventual journey into recovery. This book read for me as a meditation of sorts, due, I think, to the various powerful and dynamic literary devices the author uses. Interspersed within each section of the narrative (there are 90 sections) are pithy metaphors, quotes and proverbs, bits of poetry, morning & evening meditations, questions for the day, etc. These techniques are used to reflect on the author's life events, his feelings, thoughts, and behaviors, his relationships with others, how he finally comes to acknowledge his addiction, and on the lessons and truths garnered from his life in recovery. The best of these literary devices is, for me, the clever and brilliant inclusion of three fictional alter egos who stand by listening to his story as it unfolds (unbeknownst to him) and discuss with each other their opinions of him and their differing views on how he is relating his story. This stepping back from the narrative not only offers periodic distance from its intensity, but reveals differing perspectives that lend insight into the various facets of addiction and recovery as well as insight into the perspective others might take as they look in on someone addicted to alcohol. This intelligently written book should be of great interest to anyone at any stage of addiction--or simply, to anyone, since it brings forth useful insights and truths necessary to living a healthy life. And so, I do highly recommend this book to anyone!
*****
#Alcoholism #Addiction #Recovery
*****
Look here for all 30 Five Star Reviews of ALL DRINKING ASIDE: 
The Destruction, Deconstruction and Reconstruction of An Alcoholic Animal
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