Tuesday, June 21, 2011

...more about living...

So, when you first get in recovery it takes everything inside to just not take that first drink and drug. I mean, it's ridiculous how hard that is. Even as an alcoholic and addict in recovery it's hard to explain why it's so difficult. I wasn't even experiencing any outright physical withdrawals or cravings, but the mentality of the emotional dependance as a result from using for 12 years is POWERFUL. That's why Step 1 is what it is:

  • Step 1--Admitted we were powerless over alcohol-that our lives had become unmanageable.

It took me a while to realize this...even after 3 misdemeanor DWI charges and 1 felony for possession of Xanax. "Oh, being arrested 3 times in less than 2 weeks does NOT make me an alcoholic! I mean...really, what IS an alcoholic anyways? Certainly not me." It is so obvious now that this type of thinking was ridiculous. Another "cunning, baffling, and powerful" part of addiction is the brain's ability to rationalize the alcoholism and drug abuse. It only took some more relapses and jail time to officially bring me whole-heartedly and willingly into the "I'm an alcoholic and addict" status.

Okay, so alcohol and drugs are more powerful than I am. If I sit here with this knowledge the only thing I'm going to do is rationalize another drink and drug...since I AM powerless over it and all. That's why the Steps are set up to be worked. You have to keep moving in recovery. There's a famous saying that "if you're not growing, you're going", and I've personally experienced the truth in this saying. So...

  • Step 2-Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
  • Step 3-Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
In the beginning it's really hard to imagine that anything could stop you from using. This is mostly because most of your life is characterized by using. The drug has long ago started using you, rather than you using the drug. It's just how you operate at this point. But there comes a point in recovery where if you really want this thing to work for you then you have to come to the realization that, although your drug is more powerful than you are, there is Something out there that is more powerful than your drug. Belief in something is a vague idea in which some confidence is placed (shout out to the Dictionary! app). I came. I came to. I came to believe. I had a vague idea that maybe my Higher Power could bring me some sanity. Being insane is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. So if my Higher Power is going to make me sane that means I have to do my part by thinking differently.

Step 3 is the only step that mentions the word "decision". I believe this is because Step 3 is the ultimate decision. All other decisions will fall into place much more easily once I commit myself to this ultimate decision. Now, these steps aren't a one-time deal. I have to practice, keyword "practice", these steps everyday if I want my day to count. It is only by practicing a skill that you can own it. I can't turn my will and life over to the care of God once and be set. Just like I cant hang out with a person once and call them a best friend for the rest of my life. That is a bit delusional. The 3rd Step Prayer has to be a daily thing for me in my recovery.

  • 3rd Step Prayer-God I offer myself to You-to build with me and to do with me as You will. Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Your will. Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of Your Power, Your Love, and Your Way of life. May I do Your will always.

I have 8 months sober as of June 9th. I can't really remember the last time I honestly struggled with the thought of using. It's not so much about that anymore. Step 1 is the only step that mentions alcohol for a reason. It's a program for recovery...but it's a program that is more about living. Alcohol is a symptom of underlying problems. If I want to live a meaningful life, I first need to learn how to live. And if I'm not learning how to live then there is no way I'm living a meaningful life...so why be sober? You really might as well just drink and use if you are going to remain a miserable person.

That's why you cant just stop at Step 3. You have to keep going. You have to figure out what you have been covering up by all the alcohol and drugs. What's keeping you from being useful? Where have you wronged others (even when you feel that others have wronged you)?

  • Step 4-Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
  • Step 5-Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
Step 4 has allowed me to stop exerting so much energy on projecting all of my problems on other people. I don't have to hold onto anger and resentments toward others, because every one of those resentments reveal a character defect in ME. Isn't that crazy?! Step 5 is all about getting real, and learning how to let another person know that real you. Now there is the list of our character defects such as self-centered fears, intolerance, envy, etc. I see my shortcomings that keep me from being useful to God and to others. I need to keep working these steps. If I'm not in the practice of working the Steps then I'm no longer moving forward...I'm just staying stagnantly sober.
  • Step 6-Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
  • Step 7-Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
They say that 6 & 7 get worked side by side. These are the real "getting into action" steps. These two steps can get easily over-looked as being no-brainers. But action must be taken with these steps. I have to "act as if" my shortcomings are being removed by practicing mindfulness of my thoughts and actions. I can't expect God to give me patience if all I do is practice impatience all day. If I don't practice these steps and strive towards the removal of my shortcomings then there really isn't much substance to anything else that I do.

This is where I'm at this time around in my recovery. I've gotten to Step 7 with a new sponsor who is absolutely fabulous. It is progress, not perfection. Things do not always appear clear-cut or easy. I've gone through some difficult times. I don't always do or say the right things, and I can still find myself practicing those same character defects even after going through these steps. But the difference is that I have become more mindful of these things, and I am more aware of where the answers are in the midst of my problems. This is the longest continuous sobriety I've ever had, and I honestly feel like I've been given this whole new life. I have gained a lot of things while in this program, but the program isn't about what we get. It's about what we are willing to give up. When I give up the negative things that hold me back, positive things will naturally take their place. I am grateful for everything and everyone in my life today. It would really be hard to stay sober if it wasn't for the people I have in my life today. My family has stood beside me and believed in me all the way through this even when I couldn't believe in myself. They have loved me when I was unlovable, and given me strength when I felt broken. The friends I have in my life surround me with positivity and acceptance. My girlfriend is a beautiful sober girl that cares and loves hard. I could never imagine that I would have the life I do today. For everything and everyone, I am grateful, and I hope that I am able to return even a piece of that goodness that I have received.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


10 Sober Fun Things I Like To Do:
1. Go to Starbucks

As a sober person, much of my time is devoted to coffee and cigarettes, preferably at the same time.  It's really the "in" thing for alcoholics in recovery.

2. Eat sushi

It's amazing how enjoyable food can be when you're not hungover. And it's part of HALT (AA's motto for never let yourself get too Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired). Sushi is pertinent to my sobriety.

3. Watch as much instant Netflix as possible

Bones is my current Netflix obsession. Everyone needs a little recreation time with cheap entertainment.

4. Hang out with real people

It's nice to be surrounded with people doing good things. Our main hangout priority never has to revolve around how/when we will be getting messed up. We just like to be around each other, when before sobriety, it was all about what we could get from each other.

5. Go bowling

This is something I havent done enough. I have presently decided that I will force people with cigarettes and coffee to go bowling with me. (I can hear the alcoholics running.)

6. Go to meetings

You might be asking..."Fun?"  I say..."HELLS YES." There is nothing more fun than a huge group of recovering alcoholics gathered together. It is one of the only places where I can laugh until I cry, and, at the same time, feel completely understood.

7. Hit some funky beats

Now that I'm sober, I generally make it to church every Sunday where I play the drums for the morning services. I'm actually a dependable person now to be able to do this. A couple of weeks ago I got the opportunity to play the congas at a gig with a friend to support a GOOD cause...even if it did mean sending my friend to a whole different continent where we cant smoke cigarettes and drink coffee together.

8. Going to the movies

It's what normal people do! And I like it! Before I got sober, I hadn't gone to the theatre since 1989!

9. Dancing sober at AA parties

Two of the funnest nights in sobriety were at the 80's Prom for young people in AA and Ashley and Kyla's going away party.  I mean...there's not near as many obnoxious people OR accidents when you sober dance with sober people. 

10 And Most Importantly. Hang out with my niece and nephew

I got lucky enough to have the coolest babes on the planet be related to me...and I get to be sober for their lives. They make everything worthwhile. I can't imagine not knowing them, yet I spent most of my life trying to die. This is God showing me why He wouldn't allow for that to happen.                  

Four months ago today, with the help of God, my sponsor, and a really good sober friend, I decided I had enough...AGAIN.  I admitted to Drug Court that I was getting loaded, and requested more extensive help with rehab.  I spent my weekend in jail as my sanction in Drug Court for relapsing, and within the month I was in Rayville, LA experiencing a whole new side of recovery I never knew. Rayville Recovery.  It is definitely an experience that I will always cherish and remember...no matter the huge amounts of craziness that happened.  I wanted to go to rehab to get in a safe environment away from temptations.  I just needed to easily get 30 days sober under my belt while learning about myself and recovery. Well, temptations are everywhere.  There were drugs circulating in there the first couple weeks of my stay. There were a lot of trying times. But God pulled me through.  I had a prophet as a counselor.  Ms. Betty is one of the most beautiful women (inside and out) that I have ever met.  She taught me how to understand myself, how to be sober, how to communicate, etc. But most of all, she taught me how to be a woman and how to love myself.  Miracles started happening as soon as I got into rehab and really gave up trying to control my life.  Doors opened up at Centenary...more doors than I initially expected. God showed me who my real friends were.

This might sound weird...but don't get it twisted.  I'm actually GLAD that I relapsed. Yeah...I said it.  No, I'm not glad that I got to experience more hangovers and impulsive using.  I am glad that I got to see how quickly I started to hate my life again once I started using.  I also wouldn't have the recovery I have now if it wasn't for that relapse. I was able to be broken down and built back up even stronger than before. I would not know the things I do now about myself and recovery if it wasnt for the struggles.  God can really make some good things happen out of the shittiest situations if you just let Him.  He can make the ruins of this world be something beautiful. Today, life is good. That doesn't mean it's always easy and amazing. But it is good. And, today, I embrace my struggles, because it is only in struggling that I get to persevere, and it is only in persevering that I get to live, and it is only in living that I get to love.  So...with that said...this has been the best four months of my entire 26 years on this planet. I will do the next right thing. One day at a time.  

Saturday, October 23, 2010

No longer a Blogger Virgin.

Well, out of all the things I've tried in my life, blogging has never been one until now. I plan on keeping this blog as raw and honest as I possibly can (except when to do so would injure others). My main goal in life now is to stay on this path of recovery one day at a time. I can tell you now that I definitely will not be posting updates on a daily basis...but that's not why I wanted to start this whole thing anyway. I want to share my experiences, strengths, and hopes...because that's how I got here in the first place. I didn't know a life like this could ever be possible for me. Hopefully some of you can get something out of this as well...at least perhaps some entertainment. Welcome to the life of a clean and (sometimes) serene convict in her 20's. AND GOING STRONG!