Accidental Drink

I am coming up on 5 years of continuous sobriety … to be exact, I have 4.94 years, 59.37 months or 1,807 days clean and sober and I got served an alcoholic drink Saturday night at a restaurant.

I was out with my husband and some friends and ordered my usual club soda and cranberry, but ….. it came with vodka (a lot of vodka)  Not knowing this, I took a really big sip of my drink and OMG.  I immediately felt that warm and fuzzy feeling.   That feeling that makes us want to drink more.    It would have been easy to continue to drink it, but my immediate reflex was to recoil from it as if it were a hot flame, like it says in the AA big book.  (Wow is that me, sort of quoting the big book!)

I will not lie, after just taking that one gulp … I have had some obsessive thoughts about drinking.  It is amazing how fast your head can get crazy with just one taste of alcohol.  You see I liked the taste of alcohol,   I liked the way it made me feel. With that one drink, I remembered all the wonderful things about why I liked alcohol and the way it made me feel invincible.    But all I have to do is play that tape all the way through and remember in the end how it really made me feel along with the pills and how it could have destroyed me.   The thing is, a few days later, I can still remember that taste of vodka in my drink with just that one big sip.    But I am in recovery and I have to remember I am in recovery and how good my life is today; mentally, physically and spiritually.  I am grateful that the urge to drink didn’t take over and that I have my tools to get through this.   It is not totally over yet, but I will get through this and in 20 days I will, by the grace of God,  have made it to 5 years!

Freedom to Choose

I was at a twelve step meeting the other day …. I forget the topic, but we were reading from “As Bill Sees It, The AA way of Life” and we read a passage on the Freedom to Choose and it really got me to thinking more about the choices we have in life.

When I talked with my sponsor (in the past) about really wanting to drink or other things with a possible negative outcome, she would always tell me in part that the choice was mine.    I didn’t like that or understand it, but now I do.   In the past while in active addiction, I really didn’t have a choice.  Sober,  I always have the choice to do what is right or to do what is wrong.   My journey, my choice.

In the “As Bill Sees It” reading it says:   “Looking back, we see that our freedom to choose badly was not, after all, a very real freedom.    When we chose because we must this was not a free choice either, But it got us started in the right direction.   When we chose because we ought to , we were really doing better.  This time we were earning some freedom, making ourselves ready for more.   But when, now and then, we could gladly make right choices without rebellion, hold-out, or conflict, then we had our first view of what perfect freedom under God’s will could be like.”

For awhile I felt trapped into being sober, like I had no choice because of my commitment to my sponsees and my position on the board at our local meeting club.   In reality I chose to do things to help keep me in line and to keep me sober and doing the next right thing.    I always have the choice to give up those things and return to a life a despair.     My journey, my choice.

Today, I like the choices I have made in staying sober and my commitment to helping others.   My life, my family, my friends are all better because of the choices I have made in the past several years.

Today I choose to be sober …. Happy, Joyous and Free!

The Ripple Effect

Did you ever stop and think that whatever you do affects the universe in some way, it is called the ripple effect.   What I may do may have an impact on what someone else does and so on and so on to infinity.   It is weird to think that one little action could play such a role.

We are currently watching “13 Reasons Why” on Netflix.   I know we are a little late in the game to be watching this .. but it is about a teenager who commits suicide and the actions of others and how it relates to and affects all.   It has really made me stop and think about life and death.   I would be lying if I said I never had thoughts, especially during active addiction, of just leaving this earth …. suicide.   When you are in that state of craziness, I don’t think you realize the effect of that action on the world around you.   I know of many in my 12 step program who have thought about or even tried to kill themselves.  So as I wrote in my last post, I wonder sometimes what is the point, death is inevitable and life does go on.   But there is a point, there are many points!   This world needs each and every one us for one reason or another no matter how long we are here.

For me today, I am grateful for life.    I am glad I didn’t give in to those moments of despair.   I am glad the drugs and alcohol did not kill me and that I have a chance to always choose and hopefully I choose the right action.   My higher power, who I choose to call God, has a plan for me on this earth.

The ripple effect happens no matter what you choose.  One must remember that it is not all about one person, but how that person interacts (whether it be good or bad) and how it effects the people in their life and the world around them.

Just don’t forget about the Ripple Effect!

And the Point Is …..?

Does anyone ever really think ….. What is the point?

I often ponder why I was put on this earth and what I am supposed to accomplish.   It is a heavy question and a burden.

I know I am supposed to be a good person of faith, love and compassion.   But is there more?    Was I put on this earth to suffer with my disease of Ulcerative Colitis, addiction, depression and anxiety so I could help and be of service to others?   Surely I didn’t go through those things for no reason …. the outcome of those issues is that I am a stronger more compassionate understanding individual.  Maybe it is all to help me grow into the person that I am supposed to be.   I don’t know.

For awhile I thought my purpose was to be a Mom and it was, but my children are grown and on their own now.   Yes, I am still their Mother, but in a different capacity.

Maybe there is no point after all and it is just life and then we die.

But I have to believe there has to be a purpose to this journey here on earth or there wouldn’t be a point to be here and to participate in this life.

I often pray to know God’s will for me and the only thing that I know for sure is that He wants me to be Sober and of Service …. maybe that is the point and the only point and I  have to let that be enough, but is it enough?

 

Resentment

I have a resentment.   A resentment against a family member and it is eating me alive.   I am not sure if the situation is real or perceived, nonetheless I have these feelings of anger and resentment toward this person … well, actually persons.

It doesn’t matter the situation or the particulars.

I don’t like conflict and I am more of a passive – aggressive type and we know this doesn’t do anybody any good.

What do they say about the alcoholic and resentments…. The big book states on page 66,  “It is plain that a life which includes deep resentment leads only to futility and unhappiness. To the precise extent that we permit these, do we squander the hours that might have been worth while. But with the alcoholic, whose hope is the maintenance and growth of a spiritual experience, this business of resentment is infinitely grave. We found that it is fatal. For when harboring such feelings we shut ourselves off from the sunlight of the Spirit. The insanity of alcohol returns and we drink again. And with us, to drink is to die.  If we were to live, we had to be free of anger. The grouch and the brainstorm were not for us. They may be the dubious luxury of normal men, but for alcoholics these things are poison.”

I know I need to put my big girl panties on and confront the situation, no matter how difficult that may be for me. For my sake and the sake of my sanity as well as the foundation of my family this must be dealt with…. maybe tomorrow.

 

Amends

I have been around recovery for many years …. I first got sober in 2007, with many relapses under my belt I have 4.5 years of continuous sobriety.   Working the steps is important when you first get sober and continuing to not only work them but live them as you stay sober is just as important.  When I first attempted to get sober living the steps, I did not do.

I recently made an amends that crept up in my mind a couple months ago.   They say more will be reveled as you go through recovery and it is true.   This was something I had not thought of in many years.   It came to me while working steps 8 and 9 with a sponsee and then again as I helped a friend through a difficult situation at home.    After a couple of months of struggling with this thought I knew I had to follow my heart and talk to my friend who I needed to make amends to.   It was quick and easy as it was not a broken relationship as we were and are still friends.   We talked and I realized even more how much this friend helped me through my dark times and I am forever grateful for her.  She remembered clearly some of my craziness that I had no recollection of.    I am sorry that I took her too far into my wrong doings.

It felt good to make this amends, even though like I said, it was something that eluded me for many years.   I think Gods timing is good and things are reveled as they need to or are able to be dealt with.

Making amends is good for the soul!

No Hangover

We went to a concert the other night at a small outside venue.   It was a great show.  what I noticed though was the very long lines at every beer / wine stand.   The world drinks and I don’t and sometimes that is a lonely place.

On the way out an older lady needed help out to the car, flanked on both sides by friends…. she was wasted.   My thoughts went to several places.  I felt pity for her, sad actually.  I also felt a tinge of jealousy.   She obviously had a lot more fun than I did at the show.   While I enjoyed myself, it is hard for me to let loose under any circumstance.

When I was drinking I was fun, the life of the party.   Sober, I don’t think I am as fun.  I still get social anxiety with no drink or pill to calm it.  But I didn’t always drink like other people drank and normal drinkers don’t obsess about the drink and where and when the next one is coming.   Normals can sip the wine and make 1 glass last awhile, I couldn’t.

The more I thought about it, especially the next day, I was grateful to be sober.   That drunk lady was probably pretty sick.   I felt great and got to enjoy a wonderful day with my AA sponsorship family at the park.

No hangover for me.

Podcast

I have been getting a little out of  my comfort zone lately.   The biggest thing that I did was today, I was interviewed about my recovery story and my thoughts on addiction for a podcast.    I have decided being totally anonymous really isn’t helping anyone.  I do have this blog where I discuss my issues with addictions, but doing this podcast takes it to a whole new level.   I was really nervous about doing this and sounding like a dork, but luckily I get to hear the final edit before it posts.  I really hope it turned out well and that it will resinate with someone who listens.  Being uncomfortable for a minute is worth it if it helps someone.

Turns out it wasn’t so bad doing it after we got started.   It was just like talking to a friend.  I did stumble some but hopefully that will be taken care of in editing.  I am anxious to hear how it turned out and totally trusting my interviewer, Nick.

Nick has a great website called Open Discussion Movement and I think you should check it out at https://ODMovement.com.   A lot of great stuff on addiction issues and he has a wide range of guests on his podcast with different experiences with addiction.

Getting out of your comfort zone every now and then feels good.   It is definitely a growth experience.    My sponsor told me just the other day how much I was growing and changing … and that  my friend is a good thing.

Reunion

I graduated from college in 1989 …. 30 years ago.    It seems like a life time ago.   I went to Ohio University in Athens Ohio and have very found memories of my time there.   I was in a sorority and thanks to Facebook, they are planning a reunion in Chicago in September.

I would like to see some of the girls from the sorority and I am sure I could have some fun, but I am an alcoholic / addict and it looks like it is going to be a party time weekend.  Why wouldn’t it be?   Your average person doesn’t have a substance abuse problem.   I don’t really want to disclose my personal business to this group of people, I am really not close to any of them at this time in my life.  I think all I need to know about these “friends” I learn from Facebook.

One of the events is a mini pub crawl …. the Court Street Shuffle (going to all the bars for a drink in one night and there were many) is a staple OU activity.  It doesn’t really sound like a fun way to spend an evening to this addict.  I am pretty sure if I go I will either be miserable or I will drink, neither of which sound fun.   So why am I so conflicted about this?   I think I am feeling left out because I know I can’t do certain things.   If this event were in Athens I could go up for a day, but going to Chicago is a commitment and I would be stuck.   I know it is a choice … I can go or I can not go, up to me.   I just know it is not in my best interest to put myself in that situation, but I don’t want to miss out – conflicted!

College and the sorority were some great times, I would love to be able to relive some of that with the girls I shared my life with for 3 – 4 years.  But if I want to stay sober the answer is obvious and I don’t like it!

Sponsorship

Today day is the day one of my sponsees hit the one year sober mark.   My first one to do so and I couldn’t be happier.    I have had 5 girls over time and 3 or maybe 2 that I am actively working with.     I am so proud of this girl, she is doing the deal.   She came in to AA and sobriety and never looked back.     I wish I could have done it that way, but that wasn’t my journey.

One of my girls is actively drinking.   She got her 30 days a couple of weeks ago and then a 24 hour token last week and is back in the bottle.    I wish I could help those in active addiction more.   I just want to shake her and tell her there is a better way to live.   All I can do at this time is let her know that I am here for her when she is ready and pray for her and her son that is caught in her web of addiction.   I feel so helpless and it is not a good feeling.   As a sponsor, I feel a little bit like I have failed her even though I know it is her choice.   I can’t make her drink and I can’t make her be sober.

My other girl is doing well.    She had a relapse in September so she will be coming up on 9 months.    She has had some challenges that we have worked through and I think she has finally found some peace in her situation.

But as for my 1 year girl … I get to give her a special 1 year token on Saturday at the big meeting.   I hope I can find the words to do her justice.   1 year is a big deal.

I love being a sponsor even though it is challenging at times, I love helping others in the best way I can.    Sometimes though I feel like how can I help them when sometimes I can’t even help myself.   They keep me sober and honest with myself.    I don’t want to fail them, I want to be the best example of sobriety that I can be.