The thing about my depression is that it’s physical as well as mental. I get stuck for about three days and don’t want to do shit. I literally stress myself out until I’m in dark spot in my head. And what sucks is I know the things that I think are going to go wrong, in reality are not. I can do the self-talk, of “it’s ok if I fail today,” and “all I have to do is stay sober today and nothing else.” I know the behavior I get into when my depression kicks in. I start obsessing over my phone and computer like I have been for the past 48 hours. I don’t want to start my day, and my eating habits suck. And the thing that I hate most is that I know what I have to do to get out of it, but I have zero physical motivation to do so. I know the answer isn’t to “up” meds, fuck that. I know if I wait it out, it will pass. But during that time I feel like a horrible father, husband, brother and son. It’s just this big fucking tornado of pain that just marinates in my chest. Not even buying shit on Amazon works at this point. Maybe a meeting, maybe a blog post, maybe a walk with my “boys” Kenny and Colt, (Family dogs) would help if I had an ounce of energy to do so. When I was using I would stay up for weeks. I would get to a spot in my mind that’s similar to the one I’m in right now. And I would listen to songs on YouTube for hours. The music acted as a drug, and soothed my emotions and feelings that at the time, I couldn’t identify. Today I think it was depression. Maybe I used over depression. Here’s a song, to hope I feel better. Every day of sobriety can’t always be fucking amazing. Sometimes there some dark days.
It’s has been my experience the longer I stay sober the more I gain insight on my life. For example I can now look back and realize so moments in my life that may have contributed to my excessive drinking. Furthermore, addiction is that weird little gift that, without it, I would not have clarity today.
It took years for the dust to clear from my all my consequences created by my insane choices I made in my disease. In fact there is still a cloud of dust that slowly is set to settle. However for the most part, I don’t know if my life is “back-on-track” but it certainly is going in the right direction (i think).
Part of this “recovery-journey” is finding out who I am. I used for over 20 years, and when I got sober I wasn’t the same person. It was exciting to look into myself for identity while at the same time challenging.
I feel like I am striving daily to get to a point in my life, that which I may already be at. I don’t want to spend my life “in search of” meaning. I don’t want to work like crazy, “for someday to have the perfect bank account.” I don’t want to dream about a day “that I can finally get my family everything they want.”
I want to enjoy life today, not in 5, 10, 15 years. I don’t need to go hike a mountain to realize I’m here to help others. I don’t need to “tap-into” my inner-deep self to realize the potential I have, when I understand that my story isn’t special. I don’t have to waste anymore time, finding myself, when I know I’m a husband, father, son, brother and friend. And today, that is all I need to be……for now
I just got off the phone with a friend in the program. We have mutual friend that has relapsed.
“Where do I draw the line?” she ask, referring to when does caring turn into enabling.
I learned this lesson early in sobriety. About three months early. I was running a sober home and one of the renters relapsed and got kicked out. And there I was to the rescue, with hotel money to save the day! I went to the hotel in the morning to take the guy to a meeting and try to find him another sober home and he was completely wasted.
Even though we don’t really know the person sitting next to us at a meeting, there is some type of emotional attachment. Probably because we see ourselves. Also, creating new relationships involves ‘s “disclosing” of personal information with one another. And that’s exactly what we do in meetings, we talk about personal stuff that we would not talk about anywhere else. So I understand the attachment to someone else’s sobriety.
I would suggest sticking out your arm, and drawing-the-line there. Do what you have to do to stay sober, and allow people to navigate their own personal journey of recovery.
-Walk Towards the Cheers
The news on any platform feels so overwhelming today. It’s like politics has blended itself in every category of the media as possible, sports, Hollywood and social media. It’s hard to listen and take seriously especially when the “extremist-rant” is followed up by a money advertiser mention about Keri’s Berries. It’s actually quite comical.
So I think to myself how do I even make a dent, in a time when America is extremely-split on every topic imaginable, while the fingers point in both directions. Maybe I need to do more than just be sober.
But what? I had to start somewhere, so I decided to create my platform on “I have absolute zero control over the world and everything in it.” That right there gets me off-the-hook on a whole lot of issues. However I do have a responsibility, to someone or something, right? So I put my right arm out in front of me, and turned my body to a complete 360 degree angle. And that space right there, is where I start, and what I can control.
It’s a very small space compared to the world. So I started praying to my higher power to fill that small space with people who need help. And he did.
Andrew came in my life, and for the first time he has over 2 months of sobriety, after a dozen relapses. For the first time, he called me when he felt like using and drinking, and he remained sober. Nikki was having a nervous breakdown and her first day on the job at a local breakfast place. I took a second to tell her she was doing great, and with watered eyes, she said thank you. Brody called me and after a recent relapse after 15 months clean, he said he needed to get back in treatment, he couldn’t stay sober. Jessica called and after leaving treatment 2 months ago, she relapsed and wanted to go back. Then there was Vince, who literally got out of jail yesterday and says he is 6 months clean and if I would be his sponsor. And Mark, he showed me the scar that took up most of his forearm, and with a 24 ounce beer in his other hand, simply said, “I’m not ready yet.” Then picked up his wheel barrel of junk he has collected throughout our neighborhood and strolled down the street. It’s his journey, not mine.
You wanna change the world, start by waking up sober. Then help the people that your higher puts in your life. Action.
Walk Towards the Cheers…
I use to be the “guy” who never missed a game no matter what. Some of it was a true and innocent passion for the “big-game” storylines and hype, while a big part of it was an excuse to drink and use. When I got sober, I stopped watching sports for the first 2 years for several reasons. First, I associated watching sports with using and drinking, second I couldn’t handle the emotional rollercoaster ride of my team barley squeezing out a win, or not winning at all. Third I didn’t like they way sports controlled me as far contributing 3 to 6 hours of watching any random day. Even though I haven’t watched a complete NFL game the entire season, (thank goodness), and my favorite team was completely horrible, (not the Browns), it doesn’t take a “super-fan” to realize what Super Bowl Fifty-two, (I think?), is all about.
The number one storyline going into the “Big-Game” this Sunday is, Who do you hate more, Tom Brady or Eagle Fans? It’s really that simple. For me, I’m a Brady fan. If the Patriots win, to me Tom will be the best-ever, (whatever that means!). I like Carson Wentz, because I broadcasted one his game while he was in North Dakota State as my university played against him, and lost against him FYI. I know Wentz isn’t playing, however through recovery it’s important for me not to take this game to seriously, no matter who wins.
Here’s my logic. If I truly believe in and accepted Step 1, then I will do things throughout my day to help my stay sober. A person like me, can not afford to get emotionally invested in something so meaningless, like the Super Bowl. I can’t watch with a bunch of people who are drinking, or skip a meeting to watch. I can’t argue about a player, team or game. Other people can, I can’t. Reason being my old coping skill for handling uncomfortable emotions was drinking. Even though this will be my fifth sober Super Bowl, and I have new kick-ass skills to deal or sit with my emotions, I’d rather not test my sobriety, no need to.
If you are concerned watching the Super Bowl because you are on “day 1,” or maybe “year 10” here is a few things to make sure you wake up sober the following Monday.
- Host. You can’t control what other people do at their house, but you can control the invite list and the “no alcohol” rule at your own.
- If you absolutely must attend, maybe your up for that promotion at work and your boss invited you to his Super Bowl Party that’s is suppose to be epic, (which I would strongly suggest don’t go even if you don’t get that promotion), go with someone that is in recovery and have an escape plan if things get uncomfortable. “My neighbor called, and my dog jumped the fence or my house is on fire,” whatever works best!
- Go to your local recovery club or treatment center, someone will be hosting.
- Watch by yourself. That’s what I love to do. Pull out the old social media account and start analyzing every play from you smart phone, that will get the conversation going so you are not completely by yourself!
- My favorite, go to a meeting, don’t watch or DVR it for later.
No matter what you choose, remember this is not about Tom Brady or the Eagles, this about our recovery and staying sober.
Walk Towards the Cheers…
I was talking with a friend in recovery the other day and she said one of her biggest challenges in early recovery was breaking-up with her drug dealing boyfriend but still texting him because in addiction, she didn’t know who was a friend or not. She went on to say the line that was crossed from friend to drug dealer to boyfriend was completely blurred.
I thought about early recovery for me. After the first 90 days, I started to decipher who was a friend, who did I consider family and who hung out with me just to use. And it was confusing. It took over 4 years to learn about which relationships was real and which was not. So I completely understood what my friend went through, and I would like to offer this.
Relationships are complicated, duh! They take work and effort over time, sometimes months or even years. One of the keys to relationships is self-disclosure. The first date your just feeling each other out, the second divulge a little more, maybe your Houston Texans fan, (sorry if you are lol..) and third date and so on begin to share little memories. Like the place you went to your first date, or watching the game together. Then slowly you start to disclose personal information. Maybe about your family, or something your passionate about like recovery. But all this happens over time. But in addiction, this process can happen in one night. Now you may say, well drugs and alcohol were involved so its not legit, but is it? Drugs and alcohol surely speed the process, but the emotions and disclosure are still there. You made a memory staying up all night, where in which you disclosed personal information and promised to see each other again, because he “understands you!” Then you get in early recovery. And you completely confused on what to do.
Let’s start here, everything is not communication, therefor everything is not always a relationship. They are 3 type of general relationships, and I’m going to talk about one of them, which is role relationships. These are people we see throughout our day that we have minimal interaction with and they can be interchangeable. For example, the person at the gas station. You hand them money, they give you chips and soda, maybe a “have a nice day,” and you go about your day. The person behind counter can change the next day just like every customer changes. That’s a role relationship. In addiction, it’s our drug dealers, bartenders and so-called friends we use with. It’s important to identify these types of relationship so in early recovery we can quickly discard them. We feel like we have this special bond to our drug dealer or bartender, but we don’t. They have other people just like us to serve or deal too. So if you are new in recovery or know someone who is, when they are confused about who is a boyfriend or friend and who is not, kick a little “role relationships” to them, and help them delete the unhealthy relationships and Facebook friends!!!
My son was born last week and I didn’t realize how important my morning routine was until I got off track for a few days. More importantly, it was the actual “not having enough time” aspect to do my morning rituals, that really through me off. Within a few days I was back on schedule and I got a chance to talk with an old high school friend of mine about how important it is to manage your time on a daily basis.
When I made the decision that I was tired of being miserable and I wanted help with desperation of a drowning man, I admitted defeat. And what was so hard about that evening in San Marcos, Texas in February of 2013, was that for the first time in my life, even though I had failed at life for the past two decades, was admitting that I was a failure. And that feeling of admitting, is why I am sober today.
I didn’t realize it at the time, however today I know that I must fail and accept that failure in order to move on in life. I was holding on to some false notion that everything I was doing in my disease of addiction was going to somehow work out. But once I let go, it left room to not only learn from my mistakes, but to heal.
Yesterday I realized that I am still holding on to things in my life that I have failed at. For example when I first started my podcast, Keeping it Sober, my goal was to be the number one podcast on iTunes for the recovery genre, which I am far from. However I never admitted it myself, so I was never able to change what I was doing. Admitting that I failed, doesn’t mean I have to stop podcasting or rip it off ITunes, all it means is now I can look at it, and learn from what didn’t work, improve on what did work and now how I can I make it better.
Failure is a good thing. Without failure, we don’t have an opportunity to learn. Without admitting failure, I would absolutely not be sober right now. So what are somethings, projects or goals that you have failed at, but are still holding on to? Admit defeat, accept failure and learn from it so you can move on in your life and recovery!
I drive myself crazy trying to control and change everyone and everything around me. Even in recovery, trying to change the world around you can get exhausting, not to mention dangerous for us in recovery. The stress of trying to control others action but not being able to can lead us to relapse. However like everything in my life, I finally got tired of it and took action.
I finally realized that I cant control anyone but me, and controlling is a huge part of my addictive behavior. So instead of wasting God’s pure energy that he gave us on trying to change everything and everyone, I simply started to change my perception of things by taking another view.
Here’s an example. I don’t know why, but it drives me crazy when I see the recycle bin in our house overfilled. It’s like I’m the recycle bin police and my job is to make sure not an inch of recyclables better cross that fill line or else!!! So finally getting tired of wasting my limited precious moments of the day on stress, aggravation and control I decided to change my view of things. So now instead of being upset that my household does not revolve around my recycle bin morals, I look at the bin and tell myself, “how nice it is to have a family who is mindful of our environment and loves to recycle.” Or, “my family did their job in recycling, now I get to help out by taking it to the outside recycle bin.”
This is just a small example of how to look at things with a different perspective in effort to having a better overall day. However imagine the many “big things” we can change our view on to make difference in other people’s lives as well.
I would love to hear your thoughts!!!