28 March 2018

OXYMORON: By Reason of Insanity


"For years I never had a reason to quit drinking and by the time I had a reason to quit, reason no longer had anything to do with it. I drank for escape and I ended up being unable to escape from drinking. Now, years sober, I have found many of the tools of recovery. There are those who have inspired me, motivated me. Slowly, patiently, I must carve the frustration, self-pity and despair out of this block of wood. Carve out the envy, anxiety and intolerance. File down the burrs of hatred, jealousy and resentment. Chisel out the suspicion and sarcasm, the mistrust. Get rid of the apathy, the remorse, the self-deception. Cast out the doubt, the blame, the fear. Scrape out contempt and cynicism. Smooth out the rough edges...."
(from Chapter 78 "This Is Where We Find Ourselves," All Drinking Aside)
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25 March 2018

"When "i" is replaced with "we" even illness becomes wellness." - Malcolm X


Even now, 13+ years into continuous sobriety, I am shocked and amazed at the emotional imbalances of my early recovery. I'm so grateful that I have a written record of much of those early years. I was so broken and I need to remember how shattered I was. In early recovery, I wrote:
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"Now, when I cry for others, why do they feel like the tears that I should have had, but never did, never did shed for myself? Is empathy a rear view mirror? A way to not cry out alone? A backlog, a log jam of tears. Why am I now bleeding where once I should have scarred? Why are the tremors I am now feeling the sober echoes of my unfelt, drunken, painful past?"
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Geez-o-whiz! 
Emotions in the bottleneck, years and years later, continuing into my early recovery. Addiction sucked the life out of everything and I am still recovering. Still the drunk dreams, the drug dreams. "You can have drunk dreams sober, but you can't have sober dreams drunk" continues to ring true today. I, for one, will not, must never forget the way it did not have to be. 
Addiction fed itself on me and I was consumed. This is a new and better life for me now. My clarity increases with time, even as my slow decline from age slowly takes over. I don't really feel that yet, but it is as inevitable as December following the Fall. Life is for living. Sober. Serene. In Recovery. Today.
Emotions anesthetized by decades of booze took years to reach their equilibriums in recovery. Balance, finding balance took so much time. The harmony in me uncovered, discovered, recovered. 
It took time for my rollercoaster of my emotions to come to a full stop. The momentum of thirty years slowly become a glass of Recovery filled to the brim with gratitude.
Truly, I do not wish to repeat the past... again!
Sincerely, The (former) Relapse King
P.S. When I first got sober, it felt like my life would be forever leafless and dull. Instead, my life went from NEVER green to EVERGREEN! New life replacing the old.

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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

The Alcoholic Fox & The Grapes of Recovery (in 11 short sentences)


An urge submerged leaps forward in this fox. A hunger overcomes him seeing a cluster of grapes glistening in the sun. Out of reach, out of reach. He can not attain them alone, sly as he may be. "They're probably sour anyway," he says aloud, turning around, looking down. Sobriety will not be his today. "They're probably sour anyway." A victim of familiar pain, afraid to choose the path that only help can help attain. "They're probably sour anyway." Sobriety will not be his today. Another drink will come his way.


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You may also enjoy reading ALL DRINKING ASIDE: The Destruction, Deconstruction and Reconstruction of an Alcoholic Animal http://amzn.to/1bX6JyO
Recovery Tweets: http://twitter.com/JimAnders4

21 March 2018

From Addiction to Recovery: Responsibility Set Me Free


In order to justify my drinking, those oh-so-many years ago, I would sit on a barstool and tell myself that I was free to have another drink or two (or three or more) before heading home (how I got there usually not known). In order to defend my drinking, I told myself that freedom allowed me to choose to have one more for the road.
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Addiction is far more than a substance. A complex system of behaviors eventually evolves as the progression of addiction propels one forward (and down and out).
Freedom without restrictions was the only freedom I knew. Freedom without restrictions defined me, became a wall behind which I defended my addiction. Breaking every rule eventually broke me.
I went from feeling powerful behind my addiction (until my tsunami hit) to being a total victim in my addiction. Eventually I reached the point where I had no choice but to not drink until I felt well enough to believe that I had both the power and the right to drink responsibly. The chains of victimhood once again confined me. Eventually I got it right and chose to live an alcohol-free life-style.
Freedom without responsibility is chaos.
Recovery is boundless. Addiction is chaos.
Responsibility set me free.



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#Alcoholism #Addiction #Recovery
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"Nothing matters more than that we remain sober because when we remain sober everything matters more."
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You may also enjoy reading ALL DRINKING ASIDE: The Destruction, Deconstruction & Reconstruction of an Alcoholic Animal http://amzn.to/1bX6JyO
Recovery Tweets: http://twitter.com/JimAnders4

19 March 2018

Addiction Steals SELF-DISCOVERY / REDISCOVERED in Recovery


Again and again I return to this...
... That addiction obliterates self-discovery. Behind an opaque wall protecting my addiction at any cost, my sense of self devolved in the flask of alcohol consuming me. I almost lost what now has become essential to my sustained recovery.
Yes, it may have occurred to me later, had I lost my voluminous notes, but here it is as I rediscovered it:
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"This is very interesting. The very process of writing... has increased my self-discovery. In my notes, typed in without asterisks, italics or exclamation points, I found this simple entry, a note to myself: 'Alcohol replaced self-discovery.' Like that was an insignificant afterthought, interesting, but of no real importance. And yet, there it was, brushed over, cast aside, almost ignored."
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Alcohol replaced self-discovery... REPLACED IT! There is the horror of addiction, to me, to me. Self-discovery obliterated. Those who do not know ask questions like "Why is he being so selfish, so self-centered?" WOW! It didn't feel that way to me as I sped to my bottom, still decelerating in early recovery. I had almost missed this most basic of facts.
For me, recovery has become political. 
Why? 
Because I did not die. Because I lived to have the opportunity for self-discovery in a sober and very real world. 
"... there it was, brushed over, cast aside aside, almost ignored"
Alcohol Replaced Self-Discovery.
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Here it is: Meditate or Medicate?
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The decision is yours. I have made mine, moving forward toward my true and future self.
The loss of lives is one thing. The loss of life within, for each and every addict, the inner-selves consumed. That is another. I could and should and may and might stop right here, unfinished, detached, weary.
But I, we, we in recovery who have survived, must move forward, with crystal clarity move on, knowing through meditations and actions that in Recovery discovery, rediscovery and reconstruction of our lives is beautiful and green, joy and sorrow intertwined, strengthening our resolve, providing ground for fertile growth, hopes unhampered by our newfound clean and sober potentials unfolding. In short, now, life is so good. Life is so good.
Meditate on this until it lets you go: Life is so good. Let the words melt until all that's left is the very goodness of this here and now.
Let it go and part of it remains. Song of Recovery's sweet refrain. Carry it with you and let it go: the same.



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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: http://amzn.to/1bX6JyO
Recovery Tweets: http://twitter.com/JimAnders4

18 March 2018

In Addiction, HOPE worked AGAINST me getting HELP (a liability, not an asset)

In addiction, hope is a masquerade behind which denial often sits.
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When you're using and hoping, you're dreaming that things will get better, but face it: That's not how addiction and alcoholism work. Hope will not alter the progressive nature of addiction.
Save your hope for your recovery, when you have ceased using and you wish to get on with a recovering life-style.
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"It is hard to get enough of something that almost works.: - Dr. Vincent Felitti
That quote became a Tweet which I immediately followed with "My drinking was broken and could not be unbroken."
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My 50,000 drink history and 8 years of on again/off again sobriety were filled to the brim with boundless hope. My hope had me believe that after a brief period of sobriety, I could again become the master of my drinking and not its slave.
Growing up, the adults around me described me as a child model of optimism. My optimism seemed so ingrained that it was natural for me to carry that natural-born optimism fully into my drinking career. And that optimism prolonged my addictive descent even as my life became a living hell. You see, each bad outcome from drinking had me optimistically determine that the consequences would be different the next time. As denial slowly crept in and took over, the inner parts of my essential self would continue to believe that I could and would eventually learn to control my drinking and conscientiously improve in my ability to reign in adverse consequences. Certainly, won't my experiences with alcohol improve with age (like a fine wine - Ha!)? Hope sprung eternal. And when my world crashed in, HOPE was smashed and part and parcel of the debris of my descent. The deadliest outcome of my crash was, in fact, that the eternal optimism of my youth had evaporated. My life felt not worth living without my precious alcohol.
How, then, does one reestablish a secure footing in reality after so many plummets? Where might a sober hope begin? Sustained sobriety renewed my broken hope, slowly transforming it into something other than an unrealistic pipe-dream. The hope of an addict deep in their addiction is unrealistic. They have become victim of the deception that somehow MORE will make it all better. False hope. False life. The life that's lived, little more than lies.
The naive hopes of my childhood morphed into the unrealistic hopes of addiction protected behind the myriad fortresses of denial. In recovery, a realistic humility and a hope based on achievable outcomes had to be learned. Staying connected with the recovering communities was a must for me. Patience with the progress of recovery would replace living for the next drink.
Calling hope (or optimism or a string of other positive words) an eternal hell is now almost laughable to me. Eventually we become "Living proof that recovery works." That recovery is possible, doable irreplaceable.
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"Nothing matters more than that we remain sober because when we remain sober everything matters more."
HOPE: Our Most Renewable Natural Resource!
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Strive on. Hang on. Only sobriety can and will make your life better. One good day will become a string of good days. Yes, a sober life is possible, doable and irreplaceable.
In my addiction, HOPE was a dead end, always.
In my recovery, HOPE sustains. HOPE lives, no mere masquerade behind which denial once reigned supreme. In recovery, HOPE is no longer just a dream....


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#Alcoholism #Addiction #Recovery
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"Nothing matters more than that we remain sober because when we remain sober everything matters more."
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The passages above in quotes are excerpted from All Drinking Aside: The Destruction, Deconstruction & Reconstruction of an Alcoholic Animal, a Sobering Autobiographical Addiction Fiction by Jim Anders, linked here: http://amzn.to/1bX6JyO
Find some Recovery Tweets here: http://twitter.com/JimAnders4

16 March 2018

153 Years of PTSD: What We Called It & How It Changed Us (in 9 Short Sentences)


A soldier's heart is what they called post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) during the U.S. Civil War (which ended in 1865, one hundred and fifty three years ago). They did not know what else to call it. It was at the core of what they felt. "He's suffering from soldier's heart," they said.
Time marches on (and did march on) and during WWI the same sick soldier would be called shell-shocked. The munitions changed and the positions changed, the diagnoses altered slightly from the soldier's heart to the shell casings of bombs dropped too near.
The concentric circles of war overlapped once again in WWII and combat stress reaction and a spray of other diagnoses erupted as the medicalization of symptoms evolved and the prescriptions changed.
Today we call it PTSD and for a second we may look upon that same soldier as if under a microscope whose magnification may bring us closer to the truth found possible through advanced scientific methodologies, yet somehow further from the man, the man an echo beneath a barrage of symptoms.
Do not forget a soldier's heart.


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(Please note: When I first heard about Soldier's Heart, I was immediately reminded of PTSD and how I felt when I first hit bottom in 1996 - lost in terror.)
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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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You may also like: ALL DRINKING ASIDE: The Destruction, Deconstruction and Reconstruction of an Alcoholic Animal http://amzn.to/1bX6JyO 
Recovery Tweets: http://twitter.com/JimAnders4