26 March 2019

*_*_*_* #STIGMA: "The Silencer on Addiction's Gun" (True Story) *_*_*_*




(picdeer.com)

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 so naive and only too willing. I had no idea what was to come. They picked me up after work and we proceeded a few miles to their Northfield offices. I had 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 a murder had been committed. Somehow, they knew I was a blackout drinker. I freely admitted that fact to them.
My friend, Ada, who I visited frequently, lived in that building, but she almost without exception would pass out before my visit ended. I would tiptoe out after she closed her eyes 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. I repeated this pattern countless times after partying with Ada earlier in all those nights.
"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). Or worse yet, and more frequently, death by a drunk driver. I am sure that there are many deaths by auto and the drunk driver is never discovered (and perhaps not even remembered by a blackout drinker like me).
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 addictions and now 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 sighs continue here in hopes of 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.
Complicit in murder? No more.
Stigma: The Silencer on Addiction's Gun. Done.
Our stories continue, sober and strong.
We belong.
*****
"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 

25 March 2019

*_*_*_* Drugs, Thugs & Coffee Mugs *_*_*_*


(etsy.com)

"A 15-year-old is in traffic court for driving without a license, resplendent in his black leather jacket and black beret. Told to remove his hat by the judge, the young man reluctantly complies, only to have a joint the size of a cigar fall from his beret onto the floor in front of the judge's bench. He was, of course, arrested in the courtroom." - William L. White, "Recovery Rising," p. 140
**********
Getting caught, despite our best behavior, is so often the set-up for a punchline or a physical pratfall which may be found humorous only in retrospect. In my mind, reading this quote from "Recovery Rising," I picture the young man's face taking on certain aspects of the Cheshire cat from Alice in Wonderland.
A similar smile befell me as I sat opposite the desk of the Manager of a Waterbed Store many years ago. I spoke knowledgeably about how my advertising company's as yet unwritten promotions would have customers flocking to his store to purchase a waterbed (or two!). It all was going well until our nearly perfunctory good-byes when I reached into my sport coat to retrieve a business card (firmly in my hand). When I reached out to give it to him, I did not notice that a pack of Easy Wider 1-1/2's cigarette rolling papers somersaulted out of my pocket with the business card. It nearly fell into the bespectacled manager's coffee mug, landing next to it with a dull thud.... 
My card?
The jig was up.
I did not land the Waterbed Store account, but years later, the smile from the Cheshire cat finds form upon my face in memory of this short anecdote.
**********
All life, my drinking and drugging life, is surely not so lighthearted. Deadly and near deadly encounters would follow in the ensuing years, but it goes well by me at times to remember those early years. They, too, are part of the fabric of my life.
And yes, I'm glad my Easy Wider 1-1/2's didn't fall "onto the floor in front of the judge's bench" (but the Manager of the Waterbed Store most certainly did sit in judgement, didn't he?)
**********
Feel free to "like," comment or share your "that reminds me of the time... " in the space below!
**********
#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  


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.