Saturday, April 30, 2005
By the time of my last drunk, he had moved out. he just couldn't take the verbal abuse any more. We still talked or saw each other every day though. Love was still there but he couldn't bear to see me spiraling down the drain and I simply could not stop drinking. I had been going to AA meetings for 3 months, but continued to drink. In fact, I drank more than ever. The voices inside my head were louder than ever. I cried. I cried every day and night.
Then one day and through that night, I hit my bottom. That incomprehensible demoralization that the Big Book of AA tells us about. It could get no worse for me. Either stop drinking or die. One had to happen - and soon. For 3 days after that last terrible drunk, I was in a daze. I know I went to AA meetings but have no recollection of anything else. I drank a few drinks each of those days but did not get drunk. I was just drinking from habit. On Thursday, September 4, 2003 at a noon meeting of AA, it happened. Forty-five minutes into the meeting as I sat listening, it happened. I asked my Higher Power; God (as I understood Him at that time) to help me. And it happened. Just like that. In less than a second of time, it happened. The obsession, the craving, the absolute need to drink was removed from me. Just like that. I knew it. There could be no doubt. It was total. Complete. The feeling was physical, emotional, spiritual.
I knew I never had to feel that way again. I had been liberated from alcohol. For the remainder of that day, I told people what had happened. Of course, few understood, except for Don K. We had coffee together that afternoon. That night I was alone, without Hayden and before I went to bed, I opened a beer from the fridge. I knew in my heart that this would be my last drink. I didn't really want it, but I made it a symbol as a passing of my former life. I got through half of that beer and then poured the rest down the sink. It was midnight.
When I woke up the next morning, I began a new life. September 5, 2003. My sobriety date.
Friday, April 29, 2005
The urge to attack another person is manageable. We can always curtail the impulse if we are willing to seek the help of the Holy Spirit. Its voice is softer than the voice of the ego, so we have to grow quiet to hear it. But we'll see our "opponent" quite differently after listening to the Spirit.
The Holy spirit is capable only of love. If we are not at peace in a situation, or if we harbor any thought other than love, we are not aligned with the quiet voice. The only barrier to feeling love is the one the ego constructs. We are lucky that its voice can be ignored in an instant.
THE VOICE I HEAR TODAY DETERMINES MY LEVEL OF PEACE.
from Daily Meditations for Practicing THE COURSE by Karen Casey
Thursday, April 28, 2005
I looked out of my 3rd story bedroom window and saw some fire trucks and other fire department vehicles and 2 police cars. Curiousity got the best of me, so I walked downstairs to get a better look. Immediately, my phone rang.
A good friend spoke, "Are you OK?"
"Oh. Hi. Sure I'm OK. What's up?"
He laughed a little. "I was driving by and saw all the fire trucks by your house. Just wanted to make sure you're OK." Now I was awake.
Turns out that around the corner from me, a group of townhomes was going up in smoke. No more than 300 yards from my window. The emergency vehicles had been on the scene since 10:45pm and I had slept through most of the action. Three-alarms, 12 fire trucks, 10 other Fire Department vehicles, about 10 police cars.
Fortunately, no one was hurt. One of the homeowners had to jump out of his second story window to safety, but he is OK. Three homes destroyed, but they can be replaced, with time.
I friggin' slept through it all. And I wasn't even passed out.
Wednesday, April 27, 2005
I drank every day for more than 3 decades. During those years, I slowly developed habits and methods to deal with life as it occurred. I learned how to be sneaky, stealthy and downright dishonest.
In recovery now for almost 20 months, I no longer have to worry about ...
... getting thrown off a flight or out of an airport because of my drinking
... blackouts on a daily basis
... the obsession to keep my fridge stocked with beer
... losing my temper with my friends and family
... lying to my friends, bosses and my mother to cover my ass
... getting caught driving
... having to help out other drunk friends
... going to sleep at the bar
... when to start drinking for the day
... vomiting in very inconvenient places
... making expensive long distance phone calls that I don't remember
... going 3 days without eating
I'm sure there's plenty I have forgotten. You can surely add to the list.
Tuesday, April 26, 2005
20. Government Organization
19. Alone Together
18. Personal Computer
17. Silent Scream
16. Living Dead
15. Same Difference
14. Taped Live
13. Plastic Glasses
12. Tight Slacks
11. Peace Force
10. Pretty Ugly
9. Head Butt
8. Working Vacation
7. Tax Return
6. Virtual Reality
5. Dodge Ram
4. Work Party
3. Jumbo Shrimp
2. Healthy Tan
1. Microsoft Works
Monday, April 25, 2005
He continued. "And that's the way it is with stress management. If we carry our burdens all the time, sooner or later, as the burden becomes increasingly heavy, we won't be able to carry on. As with the glass ofwater, you have to put it down for a while and rest before holding it again. When we're refreshed, we can carry on with the burden. So, before you return home tonight, put the burden of work down. Don't carry it home. You can pick it up tomorrow. Whatever burdens you're carrying now, let them down for a moment if you can. Relax; pick them up later after you've rested. Life is short. Enjoy it!"
And then he shared some ways of dealing with the burdens of life:
* Accept that some days you're the pigeon, and some days you're the statue.
* Always keep your words soft and sweet, just in case you have to eat them.
* Always read stuff that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it.
* Drive carefully. It's not only cars that can be recalled by their maker.
* If you can't be kind, at least have the decency to be vague.
* If you lend someone $20 and never see that person again, it was probably worth it.
* It may be that your sole purpose in life is simply to serve as a warning to others.
* Never buy a car you can't push.
* Never put both feet in your mouth at the same time, because then you won't have a leg to stand on.
* Nobody cares if you can't dance well. Just get up and dance.
* Since it's the early worm that gets eaten by the bird, sleep late.
* The second mouse gets the cheese.
* When everything's coming your way, you're in the wrong lane.
* Birthdays are good for you. The more you have, the longer you live.
* You may be only one person in the world, but you may also be the world to one person.
* Some mistakes are too much fun to only make once.
* We could learn a lot from crayons. Some are sharp, some are pretty and some are dull. Some have weird names, and all are different colors, but they all have to live in the same box.
* A truly happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery on a detour.
courtesy of Zane M.
A board meeting of my AA recovery center.
It became a heated meeting (to say the least) when personalities became more important than principles. Part of the scope of the By-Laws of the incorporated center are to be guided by the Traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous. The Twelfth Tradition states that we are to "put principles over personalities".
My baseball background sometimes helps me tremendously. It taught me to be quick-thinking and objective. I learned that it did not matter what team I liked or didn't like; I had to be totally objective. I can watch, or listen, and make a decision based on an objective opinion. I had to make decisions that I didn't like but were the right ones to make. It was always about being fair. What's the right thing to do?
Some of those at the meeting left with some resentments. I can certainly understand those feelings. But in recovery (especially) I can't allow resentments in my life. I was able to leave with serenity in my heart and in my mind. I prayed last night for those who may have had trouble coming to terms with what happened.
I joked with someone after the meeting that maybe I'm not sober enough yet to be upset by it all. I love recovery!!
Sunday, April 24, 2005
There was some really good lies told and maneuvering done to bring this one off. How to get 20 people to Kevin's house on Sunday morning without him being there? One of the instigators actually drove Kevin (birthday boy) out of town last night. Not just out of town, but 150 miles out of town. He used a stupid, but plausible excuse (details not important here). So we all met at the house at 11am and they drove up at 11:30. Surprise!!
It was fun and Kevin was totally dumbfounded.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY KEVIN !!
Saturday, April 23, 2005
Hence the saying "dirt poor." The wealthy had slate floors that would
get slippery in the winter when wet, so they spread thresh (straw) on
floor to help keep their footing. As the winter wore on, they added
more thresh until when you opened the door it would all start slipping
outside. A piece of wood was placed in the entranceway.
Hence the saying a "thresh hold."
In those old days, they cooked in the kitchen with a big kettle that
always hung over the fire. Every day they lit the fire and added things
to the pot. They ate mostly vegetables and did not get much meat. They
would eat the stew for dinner, leaving leftovers in the pot to get cold
overnight and then start over the next day. Sometimes stew had food in
it that had been there for quite a while. Hence the rhyme, "Peas
porridge hot, peas porridge cold, peas porridge in the pot nine days
Sometimes they could obtain pork, which made them feel quite special.
When visitors came over, they would hang up their bacon to show off It
was a sign of wealth that a man could "bring home the bacon." They
would cut off a little to share with guests and would all sit around and
"chew the fat."
Those with money had plates made of pewter. Food with high acid content
caused some of the lead to leach onto the food, causing lead poisoning
death. This happened most often with tomatoes, so for the next 400
years or so, tomatoes were considered poisonous.
Bread was divided according to status. Workers got the burnt bottom of
the loaf, the family got the middle, and guests got the top, or "upper
Lead cups were used to drink ale or whisky. The combination would
sometimes knock the imbibers out for a couple of days. Someone walking
along the road would take them for dead and prepare them for burial.
They were laid out on the kitchen table for a couple of days and the
family would gather around and eat and drink and wait and see if they
would wake up. Hence the custom of holding a "wake."
Friday, April 22, 2005
I chair the noon meetings in April for Thursday. Yesterday I experienced a senior moment and totally forgot that I was chairing. I was reminded just a few minutes before it was to begin. I had no topic prepared. Just had to wing it. I told the group that I had forgotten about chairing the meeting. And then,
I think it went well.
Thursday, April 21, 2005
in a land far away,
a beautiful, independent,
self assured princess
happened upon a frog as she sat,
contemplating ecological issues
on the shores of an unpolluted pond
in a verdant meadow near her castle.
A frog hopped into the princess’ lap
and said: Elegant Lady, I was once
a handsome prince, until an evil witch
cast a spell upon me.
One kiss from you, however, and I will
turn back into the dapper, young prince
that I am and then, my sweet, we can marry
and setup housekeeping in your castle
with my mother, where you can prepare my meals,
clean my clothes, bear my children,
and forever feel grateful and happy in doing so.
That night, as the princess dined sumptuously
on a repast of lightly sauteed frog legs
seasoned in a white wine and onion cream sauce,
she chuckled to herself and thought:
“I don’t fucking think so”
May, and still smelled pretty good by June. However, they were starting
to smell, so brides carried a bouquet of flowers to hide the body odor.
Hence the custom today of carrying a bouquet when getting married.
Baths consisted of a big tub filled with hot water. The man of the
house had the privilege of the nice clean water, then all the other sons and
men, then the women and finally the children Last of all the babies. By
then the water was so dirty you could actually lose someone in it.
Hence the saying, "Don't throw the baby out with the bath water."
Houses had thatched roofs-thick straw-piled high, with no wood
underneath. It was the only place for animals to get warm, so all the
cats and other small animals (mice, bugs) lived in the roof. When it
rained it became slippery and sometimes the animals would slip and off
the roof. Hence the saying "It's raining cats and dogs."
There was nothing to stop things from falling into the house. This
posed a real problem in the bedroom where bugs and other droppings could mess
up your nice clean bed. Hence, a bed with big posts and a sheet hung
over the top afforded some protection. That's how canopy beds came into
After a long career with the corporate world, she is putting her real talents to work. BIRTHDAY CARDS. Making them at home and selling at boot sales (flea markets to Yanks) and the corner shoppe, it seems to be keeping her busy. She hasn't done the website yet, but I know it's only a matter of time. If you live in the UK and would like one or many custom-made birthday cards, leave a note here and she'll get in touch.
Wednesday, April 20, 2005
Whatever happened to Love and Tolerance?
May God (as I understand Him) bless them all.
Tuesday, April 19, 2005
Life in the 1500's ...
England is old and small and the local folks started running out of
places to bury people. So they would dig up coffins and would take the
bones to a "bone-house" and reuse the grave. When reopening these
coffins, 1 out of 25 coffins were found to have scratch marks on the
inside and they realized they had been burying people alive. So they
would tie a string on the wrist of the corpse, lead it through the
coffin and up through the ground and tie it to a bell. Someone would
have to sit out in the graveyard all night (the "graveyard shift") to
listen for the bell; thus, someone could be "saved by the bell" or was
considered a "dead ringer."
Monday, April 18, 2005
Without going into detail, I gotta tell you that I find it amazing how a small group of people can latch onto an issue and NEVER LET IT GO! Before both of these boards are issues that can and should be solved with a short discussion at one sitting. But noooooooooooo ...........
They take an issue, talk it to death, dissect it, throw it around the room, bounce it off the walls, stomp on it a few times to get it nice and dirty, then table it until next month. So next month comes, and the fun starts all over again but lasts a little longer because they've had more time to think about different ways to present it. One of the boards has had the same burning issue since last summer. Almost a friggin' year. Still no closure.
Tonight, at a meeting, I had a scheduled agenda item for presentation. I put it out there and was done in approximately 45 seconds. Matter settled, right? The other 4 people took my clear and concise presentation and talked about it, dissected it, threw it around the room, bounced it off 2 walls, then stomped on it. Then, and only then, about 20 minutes later, did they concur that I had accomplished the task given to me.
So if you ever need to know how to drag a one-hour meeting into 3 hours, write me and I'll get back to you with a short story on dissection, throwing, bouncing, stomping and procrastination. You'll be worn out.
Sunday, April 17, 2005
Saturday, April 16, 2005
I decide to water my garden. As I turn on the hose in the driveway, I look over at my car and decide my car needs washing. As I start toward the garage, I notice that there is mail on the porch table that I brought up from the mail box earlier.
I decide to go through the mail before I wash the car. I lay my car keys down on the table, put the junk mail in the garbage can under the table, and notice that the can is full. So, I decide to put the bills back on the table and take out the garbage first.
But then I think, since I'm going to be near the mailbox when I take out the garbage anyway, I may as well pay the bills first. I take my check book off the table, and see that there is only one check left. My extra checks are in my desk in the study, so I go inside the house to my desk where I find the can of Coke that I had been drinking. I'm going to look for my checks, but first I need to push the Coke aside so that I don't accidentally knock it over. I see that the Coke is getting warm, and I decide I should put it in the refrigerator to keep it cold. As I head toward the kitchen with the Coke a vase of flowers on the counter catches my eye--they need to be watered.
I set the Coke down on the counter, and I discover my reading glasses that I've been searching for all morning. I decide I better put them back on my desk, but first I'm going to water the flowers. I set the glasses back down on the counter, fill a container with water and suddenly I spot the TV remote. Someone left it on the kitchen table. I realize that tonight when we go to watch TV, I will be looking for the remote, but I won't remember that it's on the kitchen table, so I decide to put it back in the den where it belongs, but first I'll water the flowers.
I pour some water in the flowers, but quite a bit of it spills on the floor. So, I set the remote back down on the table, get some towels and wipe up the spill. Then I head down the hall trying to remember what I was planning to do.
At the end of the day:
the car isn't washed,
the bills aren't paid,
there is a warm can of Coke sitting on the counter,
the flowers don't have enough water,
there is still only one check in my check book,
I can't find the remote,
I can't find my glasses,
I don't remember what I did with the car keys.
Then when I try to figure out why nothing got done today, I'm really baffled because I know I was busy all day long, and I'm really tired. I realize this is a serious problem, and I'll try to get some help for it, but first I'll check my e-mail.
Do me a favor, will you? Send this message to everyone you know, because I don't remember to whom it has been sent.
Paul, another long-time employee, was baby-sitting the data, waiting for it to be shipped off. Unfortunately, the customs agents who had to approve the shipment were on strike. Welcome to Spain. Paul had been waiting a week to get the shipment off, to no avail. A lot of wasted time. And Paul need to be in Den Helder, the port in The Netherlands to meet the boat on its arrival.
Three days before the expected port call in Den Helder, my boss in Houston told me to pack a bag and get to Las Palmas, the city in the Canary Islands. He said Paul had to get out of there and head north to Den Helder. My job would be to wait out the customs strike and make sure the data was expedited and shipped off. I packed a small suitcase and was off to the airport. Houston to Paris (10 hours), Paris to Madrid (2 hours), Madrid to Las Palmas (1 1/2 hours). Add the waiting time in the airports and it took me about 17 hours to get to my destination. Paul met me at the airport on my arrival. While I had been in the air, the strike ended, the data was shipped off and he had me a ticket to fly with him to The Netherlands. An hour wait for the flight and we were off to Madrid. Spent the night there and then got to Den Helder the following morning. That had been a long day for me, actually spanning 2 days.
As things worked out, I ended up spending 5 years away from home on that trip. Things changed so quickly that the company decided I should just stay over there. My house and my boyfriend became history. There were a lot of phone calls those first couple of months, but it all worked out for the best. That began the greatest five years of my life.
Friday, April 15, 2005
For me, there have been many other changes I've had to make since stopping drinking. I have completely changed my friends. I have stopped going to bars. I have dedicated myself to going to recovery meetings and trying to live the 12 steps. There are a bunch more changes I need to make, one day at a time.
What changes have you made, or what changes do you see in the near future that you need to make to enhance your sobriety? Comments ....
Thursday, April 14, 2005
Throughout my twenties I'd be at the gay bars every night. Every night. Craziness. Drinking and driving. Group sex. Marijuana. Poppers. Staying up all night and going to work on 2 or 3 hours sleep.
By my mid-thirties, I was living overseas in the UK and Africa. Different bars every night. Every night. Gay bath-houses complete with a full bar. Winding up with a guy at his place without a clue where I was when I woke up (or came to). Often on the wrong side of town. Where'd my money go? How did my cigarette pack get bent in half? Why are my clothes so dirty?
By the time I was in my late forties, beer all day, rum & coke at night. All my gay friends are dead from HIV/AIDS. Now I'm pretty much just hanging out at straight bars. Just to drink and be around other hard drinkers. Not many friends. Well, they were friends when I had dope to smoke. No driving after 9am or 10am because I can't drink and drive any more. If I needed to drive anywhere today, better do it before noon. So I moved a block from my favorite bar. Then I bought my favorite bar.
Forty nine years old. The world is against me. No one understands me. Why does all this shit have to happen to me? I don't deserve this. Why won't anybody talk to me?
Is this a progressive disease? I think so.
Wednesday, April 13, 2005
Chris picked up his 1 Year Clean & Sober Milestone last night. Next week, he will be the ripe old age of 21.
Happy Birthday Chris !!
Tuesday, April 12, 2005
Basically, Steps 6 and 7 ask us to be willing for our Higher Power or God to remove our character defects and shortcomings. We understand that we are only asking Him to do this; it may never happen or it may partially happen. It rarely will happen when we want it to nor to the degree that we wish. There are many variables.
Have I truly worked Steps 1-5 already? Completely?
Am I ENTIRELY ready for this to happen?
Am I SINCERE when I ask Him to do this?
Assuming all this is done, I have to realize that my spirituality obviously comes into play now. I am praying to my Higher Power, whatever that may be.
Now, here's the BIG thing to me: I must be willing to participate in these steps by changing my behaviour. EXAMPLE: my drinking was nothing more than a symptom of my disease, just another character defect. My HP removed that desire and obsession to drink when I asked Him to. But I can very easily take another drink if I so choose. I absolutely must participate in the removal of that desire by simply not taking a drink. The same goes for most of my other defects. Whether they be resentments, sex, sloth or whatever. I must take action to avoid those things that will kill me. This is where the other steps come into my program. It's all tied together. I am powerless to remove these defects by myself, but I am not powerless when it comes to practicing them.
I hope this makes at least a bit of sense. I find it difficult to put into words. But I tried.
Mike and I first met in 1989 in Nouakchott, Mauritania. (LOL) That's in northwest Africa, in case you're wondering. Sahara Desert and all that goes with it. We were both there working for our respective companies on an oil exploration project.
Over the next 3+ years, we worked together a couple more times. The longest time we worked together was in Dakar (Senegal) for about 4 months. We had adjoining apartments in an old colonial block of flats.
He was originally from Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) but was a US resident for about 20 years. We both travelled so much, it didn't matter where we were from because we were rarely there. Mike and I were drinking buddies. Mike could down a beer as fast as any man I've ever known. He's a large, burly man with an "in your face" presence. Looked like a heavyweight boxer. Loud, sometimes obnoxious, and the nicest guy you'd ever want to know. A great companion in a 3rd world country because he spoke several languages and took shit from nobody.
He picked up any available girl almost every night of the week. He never asked me why I didn't do the same. Maybe he didn't notice. We were always drunk. We drank breakfast, lunch and dinner together on many occasions. Yet we still got our work done; we were "functioning alcoholics." The last time we saw each other was in 1992.
Walking toward the door to go smoke, I actually did a double-take. As I got within a few feet I just said, "Hey, Mike." He glanced my way and stopped. "Dave! How ya doin' man?" No hesitation at all, immediate recognition. We chatted for a few minutes, marveling over the fact of seeing each other in this place, at this time, after all these years.
My Mom walked out from her appointment and I introduced the two of them. Niceties here and there and we were off.
Considering where we ran into each other yesterday, I hope Mike is OK. I did not ask. I also did not tell him that I stopped drinking almost two years ago. I couldn't tell him; he smelled like he had just finished drinking breakfast.
Moi, Mike's girlfriend du jour & Mike in the Busch Lite t-shirt (Dakar, Senegal)
Mike with friends at our bar/office, The Ponty (Dakar, Senegal)
Sunday, April 10, 2005
I'm not just an alcoholic. I have alcoholISM. They tell that ISM stands for incredibly short memory. That's me. Oh yeah, that's me. Did I tell you that I'm an alcoholic?
For a couple of weeks, I've been in a largely self-imposed pity party. Oh, I am such a victim! And I couldn't see a way out except to wait for it to pass. They also told me that This Too Shall Pass. But I couldn't see another way out. But of course, because I went to another meeting I finally heard what I needed to hear. A reminder (again).
Just ask God. Ask your Higher Power. If you really mean it, He'll take away those thoughts.
It worked. Again.
Friday, April 08, 2005
Justin (AKA Jimmy) lives in Austin, about 200 miles west of Houston. He comes to town about once a month to make a little extra money with some regular, local clients. Justin is a Certified Massage Therapist and Instructor.
He’s also into yoga and is a former ballet dancer (note the legs). Justin is a very laid-back kind of guy. He loves to meditate. I admire the way he can go into an almost trance-like state and close out the rest of the world. The only time I could do that was with the assistance of a lot of booze and a handful of joints. When I’ve tried meditation, I just fall asleep.
When he’s in town, Justin sleeps here at my place. I live in the middle of all the action and it’s a good central location for him to be based for the few days he’s here. We have the strangest relationship I’ve ever had with a gay guy. We’ve never had sex. Here’s this handsome man with a gorgeous body, sleeps with me and walks around sans clothes and we’ve never had sex. That’s just not where our relationship has taken us. He has no fear of being raped by me. Nor me by him; he’s into guys closer to his own age. We can and do talk about anything and everything. I give him a set of house keys while he’s here so he can come and go as he wishes. I could count on one hand the people I would give my keys to. There would still be a couple free fingers left over.
They told me when I got sober that I would only have to change everything. Old behaviour for new behaviour.
It’s all about trust and integrity.
Justin from Austin
Thursday, April 07, 2005
The old timer said, "I'm a helicopter pilot and that's why I'm in such good shape. I'm up well before daylight, climb all over the helicopter doing my preflight inspection, flying all day, etc." The doctor said, "Well, I'm sure that helps, but there's got to be more to it. How old was your dad when he died?"
The old timer said, "Who said my dad's dead?" The doctor said, "You mean you're 65 years old and your dad's still alive? How old is he?" The old timer said, "He's 84 yrs old and, in fact, he built and flies his own airplane and he went flying with me this morning. That's why he's still alive... he's a pilot too!"
The doctor said, "Well, that's great, but I'm sure there's more to it. How about your dad's dad? How old was he when he died?" The old timer said, "Who said my grandpa's dead?"
The doctor said, "You mean your dad is 84 years old and his father is still living! How old is he?" The old timer said, "Grandpa is 102 years old and he was a pilot too." The doctor was getting frustrated at this point and said, "I guess he went flying with you this morning too?"
The old timer said, "No...Grandpa couldn't go this morning because he just got married and he's on his honeymoon." The doctor said in amazement, "Got married!! Why would a 102-year-old guy want to get married?"
The old timer said, "Who said he wanted to?"
The sponsor is not meant to be all things, especially not a therapist, as few sponsors will have any training in that area. I came across this and thought I'd pass it along.
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A SPONSOR AND A THERAPIST
1. A sponsor isn't all that interested in why you drank.
2. A therapist thinks your problem is lack of self-esteem and negative self-image; a sponsor thinks your problem is you.
3. A therapist wants to pamper your inner child; your sponsor thinks it should be spanked.
4. A sponsor thinks your inventory should be about you, not your parents.
5. A sponsor thinks you should not confront your parents, but rather make amends to them.
6. The only time your sponsor uses the word "closure" is before the word "mouth."
7. A sponsor thinks boundaries are things you need to take down ... not build up.
8. A therapist wants you to love yourself first; a sponsor wants you to love others first.
9. A therapist prescribes care-taking medication while a sponsor prescribes prayer-making and meditation.
10. A sponsor thinks anger management skills are numbered one through twelve.
11. Because you've been sober ninety days, a therapist recommends you make a list of all your goals and objectives for the next five years ... starting with finishing up that degree. A sponsor thinks you should continue cleaning coffee pots and occasionally mopping.
12. Lastly, a sponsor will not lose his/her license if he/she talks about God.
Wednesday, April 06, 2005
I have linked 2 of my favorite blogs that provide much recovery information and many links. The Milkman and Dryblog update almost daily with additional information.
Visit them when you have time.
Tuesday, April 05, 2005
"People often ask what makes the A.A. program work. One of the answers is that A.A. works because it gets people away from themselves as the center of the universe. And it teaches them to rely more on the fellowship of others and on strength from God. Forgetting ourselves in fellowship, prayer, and working with others is what makes the A.A. program work. Are these things keeping me sober?"
So far, so good. I learned how to stop drinking in A.A. I had tried before, but I just could not stop no matter how much I wanted or how much I tried. After stopping the booze, I decided to "let go" of my bar life. That's where all of my friends were. So I basically traded my bar friends for A.A. friends. The fellowship in A.A. is crucial to my sobriety at this point in my life. Yet once again, I find myself isolating because of my perceptions of others. I haven't stopped any meetings, but I do have to begin working on this major character defect that has affected me all of my life.
Monday, April 04, 2005
You might even want to let Jim know your own viewpoint.
In March, 1999, a man living in Kandos (near Mudgee in NSW) received a bill for his as yet unused gas line stating that he owed $0.00. He ignored it and threw it away. In April he received another bill and threw that one away too The following month the gas company sent him a very nasty note stating they were going to cancel his gas line if he didn't send them $0.00 by return mail. He called them, talked to them, and they said it was a computer error and they would take care of it. The following month he decided that it was about time that he tried out the troublesome gas line figuring that if there was usage on the account it would put an end to this ridiculous predicament. However, when he went to use the gas, it had been cut off. He called the gas company who apologized for the computer error once again and said that they would take care of it. The next day he got a bill for $0.00 stating that payment was now overdue. Assuming that having spoken to them the previous day the latest bill was yet another mistake, so he ignored it, trusting that the company would be as good as their word and sort the problem out. The next month he got a bill for $0.00. This bill also stated that he had 10 days to pay his account or the company would have to take steps to recover the debt. Finally, giving in, he thought he would beat the company at their own game and mailed them a check for $0.00. The computer duly processed his account and returned a statement to the effect that he now owed the gas company nothing at all.
A week later, the manager of the Mudgee branch of the Westpac Banking Corporation called our hapless friend and asked him what he was doing writing check for $0.00. After a lengthy explanation the bank manager replied that the $0.00 check had caused their check processing software to fail. The bank could therefore not process ANY checks they had received from ANY of their customers that day because the check for $0.00 had caused the computer to crash.
The following month the man received a letter from the gas company claiming that his check has bounced and that he now owed them $0.00 and unless he sent a check by return mail they would take immediate steps to recover the debt. At this point, the man decided to file a debt harassment claim against the gas company. It took him nearly 2 hours to convince the clerks at the local courthouse that he was not joking. They subsequently assisted him in the drafting of statements which were considered substantive evidence of the aggravation and difficulties he had been forced to endure during this debacle.
The matter was heard in the Magistrate's Court in Mudgee and the outcome was this: The gas company was ordered to:
 Immediately rectify their computerized accounts system or show cause, within 10 days, why the matter should not be referred to a higher court for consideration under company Law.
 Pay the bank dishonor fees incurred by the man.
 Pay the bank dishonor fees incurred by all the Westpac clients whose checks had been bounced on the day our friend's had been.
 Pay the claimant's court costs; and
 Pay the claimant a total of $1500 per month for the 5 month period March to July inclusive as compensation for the aggravation they had caused their client to suffer.
And all this over $0.00.
Sunday, April 03, 2005
When such a determination is reached, I hereby instruct my family and attending physicians to pull the plug, reel in the tubes and call it a day. Under no circumstances shall the members of the Legislature enact a special law to keep me on life support machinery. It is my wish that these boneheads mind their own damn business, and pay attention instead to the health, education and future of the millions of Americans who aren't in a permanent coma.
Under no circumstances shall any politicians butt into this case. I don't care how many fundamentalist votes they're trying to scrounge for their run for the presidency in 2008, it is my wish that they play politics with someone else's life and leave me alone to die in peace.
I couldn't care less if a hundred religious zealots send e-mails to legislators in which they pretend to care about me. I don't know these people, and I certainly haven't authorized them to preach and crusade on my behalf. They should mind their own business, too.
If any of my family goes against my wishes and turns my case into a political cause, I hereby promise to come back from the grave and make his or her existence a living hell.
___________________________________ Date: ____________________
Witness ____________________________ Date: ____________________
Witness ____________________________ Date: ____________________
Saturday, April 02, 2005
So now I'm sober for 19 months. I don't go to bars any more. But I still feel a need for acceptance and there are times when I don't feel it. No more drowning the pain. Now I have to deal with it and I don't do that very well. Today is one of those days.
I try to do what the program tells me to do: go to meetings, do service work, pray. I have done all those today. I just feel worse. I figured out that in addition to the 15 or 16 meetings I attend each week, I put in an additional 10-20 hours of active service work. That's like a full-time job. That's what I have made my sobriety.
The other thing I'm supposed to do is make phone calls to other recovering "friends" in the program. I haven't done that. I don't feel like doing that because of my fear of more rejection. I don't want to impose my problems on other people who actually have a life. I feel miserable; who'd wanna be around me right now anyway?
The problem with telling others how I feel is this -- if I tell them and they ask me to do something socially, I'll feel like they are only asking me because I am a charity case. I don't want that for me nor them. So basically I'm damned if I say anything and damned if I don't. An interesting quandary I've put myself in.
It is an absolutely gorgeous day in Houston -- 72 degrees, not a cloud in the sky. Couldn't be more beautiful. And here I sit inside at this silly computer, with some silly movie on across the room, with nothing to do and no one to do it with. I'm 51 years old and feel like I don't have a friend in the world. Pretty sad, huh? Not much recovery going on here today. But -- and this is important -- I WILL NOT DRINK TODAY. I have no desire to drink because of the incredible sober foundation I have built over the past 19 months.
Boy, do I have a long way to go or what?
Friday, April 01, 2005
African-Americans used to be black guys.
Michael Jackson and Tiger Woods were African-Americans..
Red Skelton, Carol Burnett, Dean Martin and others had 1-hour Variety shows on TV. They never needed to say fuck, shit, damn, cunt, dick, asshole, queer or faggot in order to be funny. That's because they actually had talent.
Gasoline was $0.19 per gallon when my friends and I went to the beach and could park on the sand
I could understand most of the lyrics to the Top 40 songs
Westerns (movies and TV) were popular
a 1-ounce bag of marijuana cost $10
Schlitz was the most popular beer
I knew almost all the players on all professional sports team because they stayed on those teams for years due to loyalty
an employer could fire an employee because he didn't do his job
people had doctors for many years and they knew each other by first name
cars had metal dashboards
a pound of coffee was 16 ounces, not 13.5 ounces
you could show up at the airport 10 minutes before your flight and still make it
I know times change. I try to change with them. Memories are great and that's just what they are. Years from now, today will be "the good old days." But sometimes it's nice to just go back there and appreciate from where we came. Those memories are what makes us what we are today. Theoretically.
An elderly carpenter was ready to retire. He told his employer-contractor of his plans to leave the house-building business and live a more leisurely life with his wife enjoying his extended family. He would miss the paycheck, but he needed to retire. They could get by.
The contractor was sorry to see his good worker go and ask if he could build just one more house as a personal favor. The carpenter said yes, but in time it was easy to see that his heart was not in his work.
He resorted to shoddy workmanship and used inferior materials. It was an unfortunate way to end his career. When the carpenter finished his work and the builder came to inspect the house, the contractor handed the front-door key to the carpenter. "This is your house," he said, "my gift to you."
What a shock! What a shame! If he had only known he was building his own house, he would have done it all so differently. Now he had to live in the home he had built none too well.
So it is with us. We build our lives in a distracted way, reacting rather than acting, willing to put up less than the best. At important points we do not give the job our best effort. Then with a shock we look at the situation we have created and find that we are now living in the house we have built. If we had realized that we would have done it differently.
Think of yourself as the carpenter. Think about your house. Each day you hammer a nail, place a board, or erect a wall. Build wisely. It is the only life you will ever build. Even if you live it for only one day more, that day deserves to be lived graciously and with dignity.
The plaque on the wall says, "Life is a do-it-yourself project." Who could say it more clearly?
Your life today is the result of your attitudes and choices in the past. Your life tomorrow will be the result of your attitudes and the choices you make today.