04 February 2021

WHAT DO Punxsutawney Phil & ALL DRINKING ASIDE Have in Common?


Punxsutawney Phil is at the Center of the Groundhog Day Celebrations in Punxsutawney, Pa. every year. "The event is based upon a communal light-hearted Suspension of Disbelief. It is organized by the 'Inner Circle'- recognizable from their top hats and tuxedos- who ostensibly communicate with Phil to receive his prognostication. This Suspension of Disbelief extends to the assertion that the same groundhog has been making predictions since the nineteenth century." - [Wikipedia] 
Jim Anders is the Central Character of the Autobiographical Fiction ALL DRINKING ASIDE. It, too, is organized around the Suspension of Disbelief. The Author describes his descent into Alcoholism while three Fictional Alter Egos (unnoticed by him) discuss his prospects for Recovery. Suspension of Disbelief is the Glue by which your eyes will be Affixed to its Pages as the Story Progresses.


Become Transfixed by ALL DRINKING ASIDE: The Destruction, Deconstruction & Reconstruction of an Alcoholic Animal  

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

Find 6,000+ Recovery Tweets here: twitter.com/jimanders4 

23 January 2021

"A Toxic Cocktail of Emotions Enflamed by Alcohol, Narcotics & Prescription Drugs"


Denial, anger, fear, depression, self-pity, doubt: a toxic cocktail of emotions enflamed by alcohol, narcotics and prescription drugs. In this 90-piece orchestration of autobiographical flashbacks, the author describes his descent into alcoholism while three fictional flies-on-the-wall (unnoticed by him) discuss his prospects for recovery. This intense, introspective and illuminating fiction looks at alcoholism and addiction from the inside out and back again. The vicious cycles of alcoholic addiction: hospitals, detoxes, rehabs and relapse. Repeat, repeat, repeat. A textbook case of chronic chemical dependency. ALL DRINKING ASIDE will provoke, deceive, disturb and annoy you while it entertains and informs/ ALL DRINKING ASIDE IS "Everybody's Autobiography," if you're an alcoholic and "Someone You Know," if you are not. 


ALL DRINKING ASIDE: The Destruction, Deconstruction & Reconstruction of an Alcoholic Animal  

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

Find 6,000+ Recovery Tweets here: twitter.com/jimanders4 

15 January 2021

The Daisy Chain of Recovery

One Alcoholic Helping Another. One Addict Helping Another. This is the Daisy Chain of Recovery. One Day at a Time. One Moment at a Time. One Life at a Time. One Day, Two Months or Thirty Years Clean and Sober. All Are the Same. All Benefit from Each. One Flower Equals All Flowers.

This is Not the Chains of Addiction. The Chains of Addiction are Treacherous, Slavery to a Substance. This is HOPE: Our Most Renewable Natural Resource. This is Living. This is Doable. This is Irreplaceable.

"Nothing Matters More than that We Remain Sober because when We Remain Sober Everything Matters More."

Addiction Disconnects. Recovery Connects, Reconnects. Recovery is Expansive. Addiction is Restraints. 

This is the Daisy Chain of Recovery. Everybody's Recovering from Something, so the Daisy Chain refers to Each and All.

It's Child's Play once we work ourselves beyond the Insanity of the Chains of Addiction. This is the Daisy Chain of Recovery. 

Pass it on! Pass It On!! PASS IT ON!!!


Passages in quotes are excerpted from ALL DRINKING ASIDE: The Destruction, Deconstruction & Reconstruction of an Alcoholic Animal  

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

Find 6,000+ Recovery Tweets here: twitter.com/jimanders4 

13 January 2021

"There Is No Safe Harbor When The Sea Is Alcohol"​

The Search for a Realistic Hope

There is a certain fleeting sadness within my recovery at times. 

When I reflect back on the way it was, it seems that it was all a necessary evil before I could find a lasting sober shore. I could not be in this here and now had I not gone through all that I went through then. Discarding hypotheticals, I'm left with the hope that changes will occur in our culture so that in the future our youth will not transition from adolescence to adulthood in a 30-Spectacle, lost in addiction as I had been. 

I live in hopes that a better way evolves for others far younger than I as they search for a fitting meaning to their lives.

Education is likely an effective preventative tool. Not a "Just Say No" with no realistic plans to deal with the experimentation with alcohol and drugs that is almost inevitable for many future fiery youths. May the world around them enable positive progress not stymied by the stigmas, prejudices and hatreds that surround us today. One day soon, the likelihood of more effective educational tools may be developed and acceptance by the non-addicted world may soon grow. A smoother path cleared for seeking help with constructive rehabilitation and recovery, easier and more widely accessible is surely possible. 

False hope, perhaps, but every step taken in a better direction cannot fail to produce better outcomes. Addiction does not have to be a part of growing up now, does it? Education and better preventions and treatments can replace crime and punishment.

Crime and punishment are not necessary evils. Change is possible. And a realistic hope becomes possible when there is a groundswell of actions. Actions create hope. Actions make hope a reality. Hope alone may be just another elusive pipedream. 

I'm not here to prescribe behaviors or to provide blanket solutions. All I seem able to do is to present the feel of it, the real of it, from my perspective, with the hope that it may help others to untangle their lives, to fall more gently and recover more smoothly than my particular experiences have allowed me to.

Here, Surimi describes my progress to his fictional friends (unnoticed by me), at this one uncertain juncture....


"Water lifts all boats, but apparently not the same can be said for alcohol. There is no safe harbor when the sea is alcohol. His extremes, his drunken fire and ice. Sobriety, and all that comes with it, is more balanced, more centered and less extreme than his active addiction was. His cadence and his rhythm are more clearly a reflection of his life. Addiction is chaos. Sobriety will eventually have a calming effect on almost anyone." 

Of course, I heard none of this as I droned on with my story.... "I drank myself sober sometimes. My mind would seek to find some equilibrium. Despite my drunkenness, my mind stood at cross-purposes with my substance of abuse. I couldn't have known that then, or at least, I didn't know that. Did not know that. In the most strange of strangest ways, I finally drank myself sober."

On a daily basis, I drank to return myself to what had become my level of addiction, drank to feel normal and for brief moments, drinking sometimes made me feel sober. Drinking filled the lack of alcohol, its absence painful to me. I sometimes drank beer in the shower from a sippy cup in an effort to feel sober, feel less pain from alcohol's absence.

All of this was a sort of fine-tuning of the thermostat in my alcoholic house of horrors. I found myself drinking myself sober and drinking myself drunk, often just one drink away from whatever insane alcoholic thermostat my derangement was set at in the moment.

Living this way, as you can imagine, was unsustainable. The fabric of my life was tearing apart and soon, no more jumps on this alcoholic trampoline could last. I fell through, again and again. Essentially, I was dead, but somehow, by a single thread, survived. 

True, "there is no safe harbor when the sea is alcohol" and I was lucky to survive, but as I said at the beginning here, I felt a fleeting sadness about the whole thing deep inside of me. Life can be insufferable at times and addiction is a form of needless suffering. I was one of the lucky ones for whom life found a way to flourish beyond the attendant obstacles of my addictions. 

And so (denouement), save whatever little time and strength you may have left to find your sober shore and if you're not yet there, find shared courage in a sober friend or group of friends to help guide your ship ashore. Life can be so good and addiction is not an answer for anyone. My life of drunken fire and ice has ended and I have reached the sober shore. My recovery is on dry land and I have much more living to do.

Connection. Balance. Peace.

Everybody's recovering from something.

Life is good.

Strive on! 


"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: The Destruction, Deconstruction & Reconstruction of an Alcoholic Animal  

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

Find 6,000+ Recovery Tweets here: twitter.com/jimanders4 

09 January 2021

WARNING: Graphic Language of Drug Use CENSORED / DO NOT READ If Easily Triggered



Let me start with this: The Queen of England & Marilyn Monroe were both born in 1926. Seems odd. No joke. Is that true? Yes.

I know now that using certain pictures to grab a reader's attention may not be appropriate, depending on the audience. I know too that my perspective changes over time. 

A different photograph appeared with the short quote a bit further below. The only thing I can recall is the appearance of a hypodermic needle in it. In a sense, it's irrelevant except for that fact. Then and now, some other people's reactions to it seem to me "much ado about nothing." I was trying to express the reality of confronting the cold, hard truth of my addiction to alcohol by using the terminology of a heroin addict.

I believe I may have been simultaneously trying to break through the icy stares of social drinkers and my own fragility to face the fact that addiction is addiction is addiction, whatever the substance, its social acceptance or legality. 

Both the language and photo I used were found to be objectionable to quite a few people, including the administrators of at least one Facebook Recovery Group. TRIGGERS they said. I know a little more and think a bit differently today than then, but my initial reaction was that I am an Alcoholic and that MY TRIGGERS are EVERYWHERE, on television, magazine ads, billboards and on many menus of restaurants that serve liquor, to name a few. So what's the big deal?

My perspective has moved outwards since then.

I know that navigating recovery can indeed be very difficult. My intent (as if that mattered) was not to trigger someone else's addiction. If you think a graphic depiction of drug use might trigger you, stop reading now and continue living in your protective bubble until you gain more strength in recovery. Whatever it takes to remain clean and sober, do that.

Enough already. Here is the objectionable passage in question:


"Slow the injection of truth. Insert the needle of truth into my vein, into my brain, slowly. First, hold the needle upright. Squeeze out any air. Leave only the clear, the liquid, the truth. Inject me slowly. I want to watch that crystal clarity enter my vein. The truth, too fast, could only scare me. Inject me slowly, or quickly watch me die."


Well, there you have it. 

Admittedly, it's a little over-the-top, but it captures the feelings I had at that time confronting the absolute fact that I was an alcoholic in utter denial of the reality I was trying to process. Confront. Confront. Confront. My addiction to alcohol was a brutal truth separate from the glamorization of alcohol in our culture. I was an addict, addicted to alcohol, which in many ways is no different than a heroin addict is addicted to using heroin. I chose in this one short expression of my feelings to confront the cold, hard truth of my alcohol abuse. Stopping drinking, staying stopped, learning to deal with it, was truly an internal confrontation. Complete acceptance accrued over time.

Calling myself an alcoholic felt like a deadly admission that rattled me to the core for a long time. I was surprised at the objections of how I had expressed it in the passage above. It was perhaps insensitive on my part, but the world is insensitive, I thought. "Poor me" was in the mix, too. Self-pity, doubt, fear, a volatile mix of emotions.  

Today, after more than 16 years of continuous sobriety, it is still necessary to reflect upon feelings even after they have evolved and are long passed. Odd perhaps, but memories sometimes help me stay grounded and focused on the future.

Dead or alive, people like Marilyn Monroe and the Queen of England are garnering another day sober somewhere, in AA, NA, Group & Individual Therapy, Smart Recovery and more. My hat is off to anyone anywhere who finds another day clean and sober. We, the men and women in recovery, strive daily to right our rudders on our clean and sober ships.

I hope everyone reading this is TRIGGERED to remain on the path of recovery and not revert to old behaviors. And please note, this time, I will not post this remembrance in any media that may find it objectionable. 

Chill. Strive on. I'm next in line for my Covid-19 vaccine, socially-distanced, close, close to acceptance of whatever comes my way. Sober. Today.  



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


Passages in quotes are excerpted from 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 6,000+ Recovery Tweets here: twitter.com/jimanders4 

27 December 2020

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



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




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."


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




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