31 January 2018

I Lost to My Addictions & had to Surrender to Sobriety to Win


Before I first got sober, I'd never heard the expression "Surrender to win." Over the years many different people had made subtle suggestions to me. "Slow down. Slow your roll," etc., but no one outright ever said I should stop drinking altogether. They knew I wouldn't and couldn't. Alcohol had increasingly become a symbol of my freedom. It was my stated choice long after I ceased being free to choose. "It's a free country..." all that, lots of that. Even as I increasingly became a walking hot mess, I'd learned it best to attempt to diminish the appearance of what others correctly perceived as my perpetual state of drunkenness.
***** 
"To surrender would signal defeat. Like most addicts, I was defiant in the face of undeniable evidence to the contrary. "Daily surrender to my alcoholism always meant another drink." I'll only have one... maybe two. Today would be different. Then I'd have a third and another. Then more. I won't go into blackout mode today, yet I would continue drinking until I did. I would and I did. "Daily chipped away by my disease. And what was left when the chipping away stopped? ... My brain fragments on this sculptor's floor. The dust of my disease. The oxygen masks, the intravenous drips, the sedatives. How, having barely survived all of this for years on end, can I have come out on this other end today, feeling whole, joyful, alive?... "
*****
How would I survive? 
I would surrender to sobriety instead of to the next drink. I would surrender or I would die. The subtle (and not so subtle) accumulation of experience of decades of drinking led to what seemed like the inevitable epiphany that active addiction would not allow: I could, would and must surrender to win. 
This is how I would die: Death by Alcohol, an avalanche of alcohol would seem to comfort as it killed. But it did stop. The hammering away of the addiction machine sputtered to a stop and finally when there was no juice left, neither a drop of strength, nor an ounce of courage, I surrendered. 
I surrendered to win. 
They were not crazy.
*****
That jackhammer called addiction had been stilled and silenced.
At the end of that long, dark and finally silent tunnel, the beginnings of a sober gratitude took shape. There would be no peace without surrender. Alcohol had proven that I could not beat it by joining it. I could only beat alcohol by surrender to sobriety. My un-joining alcohol and rejoining life.
No social drinker ever thinks such thoughts. 
I lift my Sparkling Cider glass in a toast to all the alcoholics out there who have not yet found sobriety, to all of us in recovery who have and to all the social drinkers out there undaunted by either cider or champagne! Cheers!
Surrender to win.


*****
"Nothing matters more than that we remain sober because when we remain sober everything matters more."
*****
#Alcoholism #Addiction #Recovery
*****
Passage in quotes excerpted from All Drinking Aside: http://amzn.to/1bX6JyO
Recovery Tweets: http://twitter.com/JimAnders4
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After Chemical Betrayal, Trust in Recovery Bred Hope & Change


Alcohol and other drugs had proven their potency and reliability as a tool to negotiate many social and personal difficulties for a dozen or so years before the negative consequences began to outweigh the positive ones. I was sold on alcohol. It was fun, useful and effective for a long, long time. Every drug has side effects, unintended or perhaps unexplored consequences. Besides, maybe it wasn't alcohol, but other things that were responsible for the hot water I increasingly found myself in. So what if I occasionally went overboard? 
Alcohol was slowly reaching a tipping point from being a supplement, like a daily vitamin, to being a side dish, then the main course and finally, the only course, my life in totality. Dependence, failed dependence. Excuses morphed into denial. Walls constructed, doors locked, windows shut, bridges eroded by the torrents of alcohol, foundation lost. And me drowning, overpowered by a sea of alcohol.
Then came the day, decades later, when I would have to stop or die.
Stop or die. Stop or die. Eventually, when hope dried up the only thing I wanted was another drink, all human trust evaporated. Nothing left. Hope, trust, everything... gone.
My sense of humanity in early sobriety was fairly a vacuum, dubious at best. My perception of having been betrayed by my servant, alcohol, swallowed my trust in all else.
Something would have to change were I to remain sober, to live. And that would be me. I would have to change. But how? The changes were slow and many and took much time. Some kind of trust in the human race formed slowly. 
Addiction is truly a sickness and the subtle irony of another form of sickness helping me get well is not lost on me....
*****
"The doctor diagnosed my condition as a sinus infection and gave me a prescription for antibiotics. Knowing I would be well in ten days made me feel subjectively better instantly. Nothing changed but my faith in the knowledge that things would change for the better very soon. If I could learn to apply this kind of trust to everything in my life, then I will feel better now and feeling better now will guide me into feeling better in my future. Of course, this is a hard concept to hold onto and an easy one to let slip out of my hands, but I just have to keep repeating it until it becomes my heartbeat, my heartbeat, my heart."
*****
Slowly, patiently, my trust in humanity resumed. Yes, trust must be earned, but I had to open my eyes to much of what was already there, barricaded behind walls of denial and defense that years of addiction to alcohol had persuaded me to erect.
I got better and life got better and strength and hope and trust began to fill my life after decades of parting with the chemicals of betrayal which had swallowed almost all. 
Broken, slowly, with help, I began putting a new life together, stronger, better, wiser than might have ever become possible. Thank you, addiction, for this beautiful, new life!
Thank you, Hell, for the Recovery I have found.
Thank you, Friends, for we stand on common ground.

*****
"Nothing matters more than that we remain sober because when we remain sober everything matters more."
*****
#Alcoholism #Addiction #Recovery
*****
Passages in quotes from All Drinking Aside: http://amzn.to/1bX6JyO
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30 January 2018

Toasted on this Rollercoaster.... Drinking Game (finally) Over!


Alcohol's Rollercoaster effect is well-known to me. The first few drinks act as a stimulant and after continued use, the opposite effects occur and the depressant effects of alcohol take hold leading to a blackout and eventually passing out (at least in my case). Every day the stimulant effects, followed after a few drinks by the depressant results. Like a Rollercoaster, up, then down (multiply that by the 10,000+ days of my 30 years of consumption), the amusement ride called addiction morphs into a nightmare. 
On and on until in short order, as my drinking career progressed, my ability to control how much I drank was aided and abetted by other drugs. No surprise there, in retrospect.
"I learned to medicate my alcohol with speed and valium to extend or cut short the inherent highs and lows which alcohol naturally produce. Other drugs were like the fine tuner knobs on my alcoholic TV set. Other drugs actually enabled me to imagine that I was in control, that alcohol would not control me."
Like the "The Outer Limits" television show (1963 - 1965) which preceded each episode with these words relating to the fine tuner knobs on their viewer's TV set ("There is nothing wrong with your television set. Do not attempt to adjust the picture. We are controlling transmission. We will control the horizontal. We will control the vertical. We can change the focus to a soft blur or sharpen it to crystal clarity,... "), I similarly expressed my limits to others: "There is nothing wrong with me. Do not attempt to change my behavior. I am in control of all the drugs I ingest, smoke or otherwise consume...," etc. In other words... F*** Off!
[To listen to the complete :45 second intro, listen here... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8CtjhWhw2I8 ] 
My thousand channels were all delusional. My crystal clarity was neither crystal nor clear. My vision of reality was blurred, my creativity contorted. For 30 years, I was the TV show no one wanted to watch... except in horror. 
An addict's denial of loss of control over their substance(s) will continue until progressively catastrophic consequences bring them to the brink of their destruction... or death.
Today, a realistic humility allows me to proclaim: "I am an alcoholic in long-term recovery. From 'The Outer Limits' of Addiction to the Inner Peace of Recovery. Drinking game over."

*****
#Alcoholism #Addiction #Recovery
*****
"Nothing matters more than that we remain sober because when we remain sober everything matters more."
*****
Passages in quotes are excerpted from All Drinking Aside: http://amzn.to/1bX6JyO
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26 January 2018

Complicit in Murder? From Blackouts, through Stigma to Recovery


I was a blackout drinker. And I certainly looked like the guy in the grainy hallway videotape they showed me much later. How the detectives on the murder case cajoled me into going to their offices to view that tape still mystifies me. They only told me that I might have some information that might help them and I was only too willing and so naive. I had no idea what was to come when they picked me up after work to proceed a few miles to their Northfield office. No thought of asking for the presence of an attorney until much later. 
In due time, I found out that I was known to be a frequent visitor to the beachfront high-rise where the murder had been committed. Somehow they knew I was a blackout drinker, which I freely admitted. 
My friend, Ada, who I visited frequently, lived in that building, but she usually passed out before my visit would end. I would tiptoe out and pursue my drinking binge elsewhere and alone. I would continue, persistently increasing my intoxication to the point of blackout drinking late into the night as usual.
"Those two detectives were trying to torture a confession out of me (just like when alcohol had me down for the count and tortured an admission of powerlessness out of me). They were trying to find a way of making me contradict myself, catch me in a lie, get me to admit. Let a name slip out: the name of the murdered, the murderer or his accomplice. But I didn't have a clue. Mr. Green in the Laboratory with a Rope? I really had no clue. Finally they gave up and released me. But alcohol did not release me. Alcohol did not stop torturing me, punishing me, hurting me, then helping me get over that hurt. Insanity. I should have stopped sooner. Shoulda, coulda, woulda.
Jim Anders, in his Life, with a Bottle. Stop."
And of course, you know, the story does not end there. I did not stop drinking because of this or any other incident of my drinking career. A dozen forms of survivor's guilt have not escaped me. Never did I find out the name of the man murdered or if the suspects were ever found and brought to trial. The survivor's guilt I'm talking about does not include that particular man on that particular night. The guilt of waking up and not knowing where I was, what I had done, might have done, if I got home, how I got home and on and on. "Why me?" is a question that had plagued me from time to time in my drinking days and sometimes still crops up in my recovery. 
Men and women sit on death row who in a blackout state killed someone in a drunken rage with a knife or gun, no worse or different from my cavalcade of drunken blackout nights and days and three-day binges. Worse yet, a car. Some deaths are deaths by auto and the driver never discovered and convicted. 
I survived all of that. My blackouts never led to unremembered deaths or murder victims, but who among us in recovery has not at one time thought "That could have been me"?
I have survived my addiction and live a grateful life in recovery. 
Survivor's Guilt lives on in various forms. I have been an accomplice to Silence. Stigma: The Silencer on Addiction's Gun. Another victim falls. Survivor's guilt. Comply. I complied with our culture's habit of silence. Excuses die hard.
Accomplice still, striving to become free. I have lived to see this Conspiracy of Silence taking its last breaths. My long sigh continues here in hope for a happier ending's approach.
I am complicit to this Conspiracy of Silence no more. Stigma slowly dissolving. Recovery moving forward. Gratitude grounded. Strong foundation in Recovery reaffirmed. I am not the man I once was. Nor am I yet the person I am becoming. Becoming a person, recovering.
Our stories continue, sober and strong. Real.



*****
"Nothing matters more than that we remain sober because when we remain sober everything matters more."
*****
#Alcoholism #Addiction #Recovery
*****
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22 January 2018

Sober Reflections on a Child's Wonder at Prayer...


"My Grandmother sits counting her rosary beads. I am ten years old. She whispers a prayer in Latin as each bead slowly moves on. 
She appears calm in my memory. The light appears to pour out of her as easily as it falls upon her. Her breath is quiet. Her voice is low and calm. There is a unison of sensations going on. Sight is sound is smell is touch. The pause between her inhaling and exhaling lies in some state of eternal evaporation. 
Watching her calms me. 
She could not translate into English a single sound of Latin that she had memorized. The sounds took her out of herself."
*****
Alcohol took me out of myself. Alcohol did that. Each sip an unknown, yet self-defeating prayer of sorts. Wanting answers, searching for calm, peace. Alcohol destroyed that. Childhood. How wondrous it seemed. Drinking changed all that for 30 years.
The world is my snifter now. Sober, observations mulled in the mind's eye. Here, sitting on the ocean's edge, the sun's sheen creates a light that is both the water and the sun in their totalities. One may want for moments like these, when all becomes as one. I have no need beyond this simple meditation, a prayer of sorts for what just is. Recovery does that. Alcohol could not do that. Reality intoxicates. Alcohol, impotent, a broken tool cast into some far corner out of sight, out of mind.
*****
Odd, accurate, this rosy rosary called memory strung in pearls of light at ocean's edge. Recovery is my child, being raised gently, as a grandparent might. I observe myself growing up now, in recovery, strong, tender, resilient, obedient to light lapping at the shore. 
The suffering of addiction brought me here. The peace, found in recovery here, keeps me here, keeps me.... (keeps me)... here.

*****
"Nothing matters more than that we remain sober because when we remain sober everything matters more."
*****
#Alcoholism #Addiction #Recovery
*****
Passage in quotes from ALL DRINKING ASIDE: http://amzn.to/1bX6JyO
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21 January 2018

Life's BIGGEST Distractions weren't living at all....


... Not then. Not in my addictions. Life's biggest distractions, my drinking, my smoking, weren't living. I lived somewhere between me and the next drink or drug. It was a No-Man's-Land, a nowhere space. How I got there, how I got stuck there hardly matters. Samuel Johnson describes it masterfully: "The chains of habit are too weak to be felt until they are too strong to be broken." And for me, the chains of habit were not being broken. I was being broken.
But now. But now, in my recovery, life's little distractions are like child's play. No drink or cigarette are in the picture. I can get on with the business of living. "Nothing matters more than that we remain sober because when we remain sober everything matters more."  
*****
You see, by the time I had a reason to quit drinking, reason no longer had anything to do with it. Ditto, tobacco and a host of other substances. Somehow, quitting smoking more clearly showed me the veiled, yet glorious benefits of ending my relationship with both. How it dawned on me and then found expression for it reinforces my recovery.
Here, hear how it came to me then, quiet and pure, almost an echo:
*****
"I turn over my fears as I’m walking down the street one cloudy day. The autumn leaves turn over themselves on the sidewalk before me. And then I hear something. Far away I hear a literal bird singing. And then it hits me. This is what turning over my fears and my addictions has finally given me. My hearing. My unfocused hearing. After three years sober I turned over another addiction, my addiction to cigarettes, and here’s what I noticed: Not that I would live longer, but that I could live more fully in the present. Yes, I could taste better and smell better without the tobacco and liquor in my mouth and on my breath. But the real reward is not delayed for some unforeseen future, but lived in the present, because I was not focused on the next drink of my addiction and the next smoke of my addiction.
I could live more fully in the now.
I turn over my fears as I’m walking down the street. The autumn leaves turn over themselves on the sidewalk before me. I live more fully in the now."
*****
Tobacco? Sayonara! Ditto Alcohol. Ditto Any & All Chemical Addictions & Behavioral Obsessions. I smoked 2-1/2 packs a day - more during ever-increasing binge-drinking episodes. Over 50,000 drinks consumed over the course of my drinking career.
Fight over the definition of addiction all day and night. I don't care. Nature / Nurture? Disease or no? This and / or not that? Whatever. The greater part of me is indifferent to a definition for addiction. That seems as difficult as nailing jelly to a tree. But addiction's absence? Ahh... Here is how I define addiction's absence: Freedom.
Freedom from. Freedom to. 
Life's biggest distractions were not for living at all. They occupied all my conscious (and unconscious) time. Addictions were killing me. Alcohol and tobacco were killing me, stealing me, separating me from life, from feeling. Fill in the blank. Addiction is a blank. A blank that steals....
Feel. 
Real. 
Free.
Addiction Up in Smoke (Hearing Restored).... Hear, here.
*****

(photo by Mark Hancox on Pinterest)
*****
#Alcoholism #Addiction #Recovery
*****
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17 January 2018

TRUTH against POWER, #Recovery over #Addiction (My Last Relapse)


I did not know while it was happening that my last relapse, like an Aesop's fable, was a living example of an animal acting badly who would learn a valuable lesson through the action of the story. It helps to show why Animal became a necessary part of my book's sub-title (ALL DRINKING ASIDE: The Destruction, Deconstruction & Reconstruction of an Alcoholic Animal). Please, allow yourself the pleasure of picturing the speaker as an animal in the alcoholic maze known as addiction, an animal who could not find his own truth, merely the truth of addiction's power. 
*****
"What I did not know, when I made the decision to drink away my last thirty-five dollars over this four day period, was that my new landlord had been out of the country and that all the weekly rent checks I had been giving his secretary sat undeposited in his desk drawer. 
By the second day I had spent the entire thirty-five dollars and wondered if between loose change lying around my room and whatever was left in my bank account I might be able to buy one more bottle of vodka (even a half pint would have to do) before straightening out and resuming my sobriety (Who would know?). 
Long story short: I called the bank's automatic teller to find my balance and as I sat there drunk I heard that I how had several hundred dollars in my account due to my undeposited rent checks…
If you’re a drunk like me, you know what happened next. I went on a bender, one ATM cash withdrawal after the other, until all the well-intentioned rent money was spent and I ended up in the hospital.
Yada. Yada. Yada. Same old story. So much for some new miracle of control."
*****
TRUTH against POWER, #Recovery over #Addiction, these were the morsels remaining when this animal emerged from the alcoholic maze known as addiction, an animal who could not find his own truth, merely the truth of addiction's power, until Recovery became his way of life.
*****
"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: http://amzn.to/1bX6JyO
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15 January 2018

Alcohol? That Stale Beer? Recovery Reverberates, Renews.


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."
*****
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 any and every thing. 
*****
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. 

*****
#Alcoholism #Addiction #Recovery
*****
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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
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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
*****
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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."
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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.
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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."
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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.

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"Nothing matters more than that we remain sober because when we remain sober everything matters more."
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#Alcoholism #Addiction #Recovery
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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