27 February 2018

... a heart made empty, PHANTOM PAIN, real as any other...


"In a full heart there is room for everything, and in an empty heart there is room for nothing." - Antonio Porchia
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The Phantom Pain an amputee feels where an arm or leg once was but is no longer there is oh-so-easy for me to imagine. Cramps, tingling, burning, numbness, pain running up and down, all in the area where the limb used to be. It's all a trick of memory and loss, of what was but no longer is. Mixed signals from the brain.
Close your eyes. Without touching it, picture in your mind how your leg feels right this second. Now imagine it has been amputated but you still feel it, exactly the same. Loss. The memory of loss. And forgetting, deep forgetting.
A decade after I quit smoking, occasionally, I find my hand clutching my chest pocket where my pack of Marlboros were usually found. This, without a previous thought of a cigarette. I know now these detours are dead ends leaving me clutching at nothing, evaporating in thin air.
"I still have phantom memories of my drinking past, euphoric recall. It's as if one of my legs were amputated, but that I can still sometimes, somehow feel those toes that are not there.
Triggers are phantom toes wiggling. Don't take the bait. Don't bite. Use your good leg, the sober leg. The bad leg is gone. Let it go. Say your eulogy. Mourn this death and move on.
Addiction is a beast that lives within you. You cannot kill the beast. Denial, anger, fear will not kill it. Begging, pleading, blaming will not tame it. Depression, self-pity, doubt: They only feed it. Confront it. Accept it. The beast will never die."
Triggers are phantom toes wiggling. Don't take the bait. Don't bite. Use your good leg, the sober leg. The bad leg is gone. Let it go. Say your eulogy. Mourn this death and move on.
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Addiction's Phantom Pleasures are Illusions, too. But all the pains that addiction may have caused you will return full-force and worse if you pick up now. Or ever. That has been my experience. With each successive relapse, the desire of Addiction's Endless Quest for More is, was, has been, will return and will never be satisfied. You will find nothing, then less than nothing, the pain that is addiction, the pain of numb and nil. The nothing that IS nothing. Real. Too real. Don't take the bait. Don't bite. Use your good leg, the sober leg. The bad leg is gone. Let it go. Say your eulogy. Mourn this death and move on. Pain, pain numb and nil. Believe addiction will not have its fill. Recovery has room for one and all. Recovery is my everything...
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"I know what I have given you... I do not know what you have received." - Antonio Porchia

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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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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

15 February 2018

Walls of Denial Fed by Stigma


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. We hid them (and our drugs), sometimes quite cleverly (a chef I once worked with hid his bottle at work in the toilet tank).
"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."
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BUT... the scabs that are the stigmas of addiction (and recovery) will not heal by retaliation. A well-placed "Drop Dead!" simply won't do. The stigma of addiction is slowly being undone. Being in recovery becomes more than a state of being when it is shared with others, admitted, discussed. The cloak of addiction is unravelled and revealed by the evidence of science and acts of kindness. A few kind words go a long way in bridging the gap between hatred and understanding.
AND... 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).
SO... 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.
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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. "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.
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"These people don't deserve... "
"These people can't... "
"These people won't..."
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13 years sober and I continue to heal.
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"Nothing matters more than that we remain sober because when we remain sober everything matters more."
History is on the side of the Common Good.
HOPE: Our Most Renewable Natural Resource

(Sculpture by Daniel Arsham on Pinterest)
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#Alcoholism #Addiction #Recovery
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Explore All Drinking Aside: http://amzn.to/1bX6JyO