27 December 2020

THE TERRIBLE TWEET STORM OF AUGUST 8TH, 2020 (a 21-Tweet Salute to Recovery)*

 

(art.com)

I posted 21 Tweets on Twitter on August 8, 2020. Here they are in chronological order as posted:

1. "Can my past, too, be infinite or are all the stones already carved?"

2. "How come if alcohol kills millions of brain cells, it never killed the ones that make me want to drink?" - Author Unknown

3."At least I'm not an addict." That's the sense of moral superiority I once had. Today, that statement would be sadly laughable.

4. "Alcohol separated him from the world in his addiction and loneliness can take him back out there."

5. "No one ever knew he needed help because he was so good at hiding it from himself and from others. Sweet oblivion. Pretty poison."

6. "Not that I'm making excuses, but it just seems that once you slide so far down into your alcoholism after so many years, you are so entrenched that it seems the only answer is another drink."

7. "Where do you turn when more is too much, too empty, too lost?"

8. "It is one of the most beautiful compensations of this life that no man can sincerely try to help another without also helping himself."  - Ralph Waldo Emerson

9. "I don't think we get more alcoholic. I think it just shows more as time goes on." A New Pair of Glasses, Chuck "C"

10. "I don't know if I can ever feel as empty as Jim has felt. Knowing the cause does not erase the effects of his emptiness. I don't think I've ever felt an emptiness quite like his."

11. "A mind stretched by a new idea never shrinks back to its original dimensions." - Oliver Wendell Holmes

12. "Being drunk allowed me to deal with the drunk in me."

13. "But when he turns his back on empathy, he turns his back upon himself."

14. "Diplomatically searching for others equally high, we (my disease and I) would manufacture memories out of blackouts like free-range intoxicated chickens."

15. "His sobriety, at first, was like a bad translation."

16. "How many keys did I have to lose before I would learn that alcohol no longer opened doors?"

17. "I measured my life in pints instead of hours."

18. "If the brain were so simple that we could understand it, we would be so simple that we could not." - Emerson Pugh

19. "It's not trespassing when you cross your own boundaries." - Anonymous

20. "When I thought I could stay sober alone, I wound up drinking alone."

21. "You are what you eat, but what are you when you are only what you drink?"

*(All quotes, except where noted are by the author of All Drinking Aside. Also, all 21 Tweets are excerpted from this same book.)


19 December 2020

An Almost Forced Inevitability Threads Our Narrative as We Move Forward

(playbuzz.com found on pinterest.com)

In our vain attempt to make sense of where we are at any particular moment, we tend to tie the story of our lives together in such a way that past events are twisted into conforming to the narrative we write for ourselves. Where we are today, when explained as inevitable, gives us reassurance, explains us to ourselves. How did I get to this point, we ask ourselves and it seems in retrospect it couldn't have been any other way. 

This is not destiny, although to many of us it may certainly seem that way. Every moment, thus, has the potential to be a sort of Deja Vu. It most certainly couldn't have been any other way. No wonder it feels so familiar, as if we had known this very moment had somehow already happened before. Deja Vu.

An almost forced inevitability threads our narrative as we move forward in our lives. This illusion offers us comfort. We find evidence where none exists because we want to continue to believe that where we are is right and good and could not have been any other way.

Were we to travel at the speed of light and then come back to ourselves, we might be younger by some small fraction. Questions of Destiny and Freedom of Choice are best left to Philosophers, we tell ourselves, all the while living it out as self-explained. The answers to our questions seem obvious because we ask the questions that will be supported by the realities of our strings of moments. 

All of this is an illusion. Or none of this is an illusion. Or so much a most curious mixture of both and neither that we rarely give it a second thought. By now, we have already reassured ourselves and so pay little or no attention to all of the above .

*****

I almost hate to say it (but said with a certain relish) but some of this post is part of the questioning that went on for me as I moved from Victim of Addiction to Responsible in Recovery.

The things that unite us (and by Us, I mean those of use who have survived addiction, those of us who still feel a sense of entrapment and those who have never been addicted to a substance or a behavior) are far greater than the things which divide us. Our common humanity, truthfully, is the framework upon which my recovery (falteringly at times) has been built.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

*****

"Nothing matters more than that we remain sober because when we remain sober everything matters more.

*****

You may also enjoy my Autobiographical Fiction, ALL DRINKING ASIDE: The Destruction, Deconstruction & Reconstruction of an Alcoholic Animal  

Find it on Amazon. Book it here: http://amzn.to/1bX6JyO 

Find 5,900+ Recovery Tweets here: twitter.com/jimanders4 

10 December 2020

THE SOLITARY CONFINEMENT SCHOOL OF RECOVERY

 

(in-housestaff.org)

This is NOT the Solitary Confinement School of Recovery. I wouldn't recommend that approach to anyone. 

(Fade to):

I've heard mothers and sons, father and daughters, co-workers and friends (and many more) be thankful, expressing their gratitude that a friend, lover, relative, whomever, has been arrested for their drug and alcohol-related behavior. "At least they will be safe there. Safer than the streets anyway." 

Go ahead, Take a moment. Think of the innumerable ways in which someone might be better off behind bars than on the street.

Should it be called Jail or Prison? I've heard discussions describing the difference between Jail and Prison many times over the years, but I'd like to go back one step further.... 

PENITENTIARY: This is the Grunt, the Nudge, the Origin of what I want to say from my Safe Distance in Long-Term Recovery. When I hear "Penitentiary" I think of a Place of Penitence and am reminded of Grade School: "You know what you did is wrong. Now go sit in the corner and think about what you did!" 

(My Opinion): The entire Criminal Justice System's Treatment of Addicts is in itself Criminal. Instead of Justice, we should be seeking Rehabilitation for Addicts. Helping them, not Punishing them. That would be Justice. The way things stand now, when a Drug Offender is released from Jail or Prison, Relapse back to their drug of choice is almost a given (No Big Surprise if that should happen, is it? "Now go sit in the corner" is equivalent to "Nothing changes if nothing changes.").

OKAY, JIM! GET OFF YOUR SOAPBOX! I know, I know. I've never been to prison, so what DO I know? Aside from cleaning the holding cell for the County's drunk tank as punishment for Public Drunkenness, I don't know much. But the PRISON of ADDICTION, I can speak on that at length, but won't (Thank Goodness). What I do know is this: I could not get sober alone. Every time I tried to get sober alone, I ended up drinking alone (within hours, not days later). 

I HAVE LEARNED TO LOVE THE MESS THAT I ONCE WAS! The circuitous route from him to me is how I became who I am today. I couldn't be friends today with who I was back then. He would be too toxic for me, too dangerous, too hot to handle. But with my kid gloves on, I've coaxed myself to let love in, to trace the threads of change, woven and interwoven, to embrace my past as I continue my path forward. 

SO, OLD ME, EVEN YOU HAVE A PLACE AT THE TABLE! How could I not love the me that was? After all, he brought me to the doorstep called Today. 

I was not a pretty picture in my Early Recovery. Luckily, I took notes back then as a way to get a hold on myself. On shaky ground, one of my early notes read: "Gripped with fear, my anxiety attacks return. My fears have been spelled out in the nightmares others are living. My drunk dreams explain me. I feel separated. Night sweats, drunk dreams. Like a wild locomotive with no breaks. Noise- white noise, black noise. Adrenaline. A drunken grip, my drunk dream holds onto me. The nightmare reality of what reality was like, insane drunkenness. The abyss of drunkenness. Anxiety unbound.... "

I WISH TODAY I COULD HAVE OFFERED HELP TO THAT PERSON I ONCE WAS. (Early on, the only giving I could give was my insanity. I was lost and would still be lost without the help of others who had gone through similar living nightmares. 

REALITY CHECK! The person I was then would surely reject me as I am today. It's a complex puzzle piecing together a life in recovery. To learn to use the love I have remaining, broken and healing bit by bit may be the best that I can ever do. As I've said on other occasions, helping others is a Win/Win. It's all part of becoming whole again- for everyone in Recovery and the people in their lives around them who must also learn to heal.

WE HUMANS ARE SOCIAL ANIMALS. Addiction separates us from ourselves as well as it separates us from others. THE SOLITARY CONFINEMENT SCHOOL OF RECOVERY is Cruel. PERIOD. Rather than Punishment, were the ball in my Court, Prison for Drug Offenders would be replaced by Rehabilitation and Recovery.*

*****

Back to my opening paragraph, where I paraphrased the Chorus of Grateful Voices, happy, in part, because the arrest of their loved one has slowed the damage that addiction causes (if only for a day, maybe more): 

"At Least They Will Be Safe There. Safer Than The Streets Anyway." 

Although that may be true, let me end with a favorite quote, a Bulgarian Proverb: "You are permitted in time of great danger to walk with the devil until you have crossed the bridge."

CHANGE IS COMING. CHANGE IS ALREADY HERE.

Do Not Confine Yourself in Solitary. Confide in Others. Refine Your Recovery. Find Sober Solitude and Belonging. Strong Roots and Wings to Fly. Recovery is Possible, Doable, Irreplaceable.

*****

*[I have another post about how important language is in addiction and in recovery. Stigma abounds. In my area, Atlantic County, New Jersey, they changed Drug Court to Recovery Court and the change of that one word has been incredible. Which looks better on a job application, Drug Court or Recovery Court? CASE CLOSED!]

#alcoholism #addiction #recovery

*****

"Nothing matters more than that we remain sober because when we remain sober everything matters more.
*****

You may also enjoy my Autobiographical Fiction, ALL DRINKING ASIDE: The Destruction, Deconstruction & Reconstruction of an Alcoholic Animal  

On Amazon.com. Book it here: http://amzn.to/1bX6JyO 

5,900+ Recovery Tweets here: twitter.com/jimanders4 

09 December 2020

"DRINKING CAREER" became LIFETIME COMMITMENT to Recovery

 

(pinterest.com)

I danced my feet in and out of innumerable jobs before, during and after my decade as an advertising copywriter. While I tried to keep my advertising business afloat, innumerable restaurants and bars offered quick cash on a daily basis in the form of tips to fund my ever-increasing bouts with the bottle. I quit or got fired from several hot spots only to be rehired weeks and sometimes years later. Youthful exuberance lost ground to hangovers and eventually I became too drunk to work, calling out sick, three-day binges, hospitals, homelessness and yes, worse.

If you haven't figured it out yet, my resume began to look more and more like the Hamster Wheel that for the first decade of my 30 year Drinking Career I didn't even know I was on. Stopping drinking was out of the question. I knew that by my middle 20's. Unthinkable, undesirable and utterly impossible. Unknowingly, I lived like a prisoner in a concentration camp who scrawled artwork on the walls, never figuring out that it was despite alcohol and not because of it that I was able to create the stories, verses and advertisements that I really did produce.

Prisoner of Alcohol in a Lack-of-Concentration Camp.

That's not even funny.

*****

I'm fully retired now, having survived my alcoholism, pneumonia and cancer.

I drank sixty or eighty hours a week (and more) the last decade of my Drinking Career, so now, having turned 70, I devote forty or so hours a week working on my Recovery. That's my full-time job now and that seems like a drop in the bucket. It's time well-spent. 

30 years of daily drinking, 8 years of what is commonly called relapse (more aptly, eight years of learning how to live sober) and now 16 year of being an Alcoholic in Long-Term Recovery. All this preceded by 16 years from birth to high school add up to 70. 

When I don't know quite what to do in any particular situation now, the answer now is never "Have a drink." It's always this: "What would an adult do?"

I'm still working on the answer to that one.

*****

"Nothing matters more than that we remain sober because when we remain sober everything matters more."

*****

You may also enjoy my Autobiographical Fiction, ALL DRINKING ASIDE: The Destruction, Deconstruction & Reconstruction of an Alcoholic Animal 

On Amazon.com. Book it here: http://amzn.to/1bX6JyO 

5,900+ Recovery Tweets here: twitter.com/jimanders4 

08 December 2020

Top 5***** Star Review of ALL DRINKING ASIDE from the United Kingdom

"Astonishing" Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 15 November 2020

by Jan Trew-Smith

This is not just a novel but a journey into the mind of Jim and you as the reader. The author's writing left me stunned and, at moments, frozen in my own thoughts. Be prepared to have a light shone into your subconscious. I cannot recommend this book more highly.

*****
Read all the Reader Reviews of ALL DRINKING ASIDE: The Destruction, 
Deconstruction & Reconstruction of an Alcoholic Animal 
On Amazon.com. Book it here: http://amzn.to/1bX6JyO 
5,900+ Recovery Tweets here: twitter.com/jimanders4 



2020 is already beginning to feel like so "LAST YEAR"!

(Funny Buh-Bye 2020 with Waving Hand New Year card)

Like the Boyfriend you dumped yesterday, 2020 is already beginning to feel like "so last year."
We've moved on. And rightfully so. He wasn't worth our time. We've got better things to do.
And so, 2020, we bid you adieu.
Don't let the door hit you on the way out!
*****
In this way, TIME IS ELASTIC (like the waistband on the stretch pants we should have thrown into the laundry basket two days ago, we still cling to parts of it [and parts of it are beginning to cling onto us, but now were 100% ready to give them the heave-ho as soon as this MARATHON viewing of DALLAS is over {We already know who shot J.R. but sort of, kind of, like pretending we don't}]), PERIOD.
IT DON'T TAKE NO EINSTEIN to figure that out, RELATIVELY SPEAKING.
2020, Good-bye. By April we'd already wanted to drop-kick your ass into the past.
2020, You sucked! You know it! The Whole World knows it.
We'll get over you.
But we guess, 2020, we have to thank you for some things. 
Like experiencing for real ([{that}]) Time is Elastic, as exampled above.
*****
2020, we loved you once. But the Honeymoon was over almost before it started.
And you, 2021, we promise to love, honor & cherish you. But will you do us one little favor, 2021? ACT YOUR AGE, 21, AND DON'T DISAPPOINT US! 
And 2021, we can call you TWENTY-ONE for short, can't we?
*****
Anything's got to be better than that bum, BUM! 2020.
2021, WE LOVE YOU ALREADY!!! ([{What's with the HYPO-DEEMIC NERDLE?}])
Oh, NO!!! HERE WE GO AGAIN!
Ain't LOVE Grand?