Finally a second to breathe! I turned in my “final paper” last night and am done with class for this semester. There was a time, early in recovery where I was working hard as an employee and a student. Always feeling like I had to prove myself. Saying “yes” to everything even if that meant saying “no” to my family. Yeah there was a sense of, I am working hard for my family, but when does that end and turn into just not being around. It’s hard being mindful of that today, however I have learned to say “no,” I don’t want to do that extra thing at work or school. I don’t want to be away from my family when I don’t have too. Today, I don’t have to validate my self-worth, I am worthy today, no matter how the day unfolds.
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 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!!!
One of the most challenging obstacle I faced in early recovery was ending my life time friendships. It was also frustrating to determine who was my real friend or n0t. However once I realized ending my friendships had to be done in order for me to not drink or use anymore the feeling of abandoning the people I grew up with a little better.
So for me, I changed my number and stopped hanging out at places where my friends would hang out regular basis. But this resulted in some lonely boring nights and home by myself that was actually just as bad as hanging out with the old gang. But I did, I made it through and eventually friends stopped looking for me and in time I made new friends and healthy relationships. But it wasn’t until a few months ago, I came across an article that I think would of really helped me out back then when ending my relationships.
The article is called “Letting Go of a Relationship with Gratitude,” and was written by Suzanne Degges-White Ph.D. In the article, she states that if you are going to end a friendship, you can do it a healthy manner. Dr. White also states that out of every friendship, you can pull positives even out of negative relationships.
Dr. White explains that all allow ourselves some type of “humiliation and pain” while we are gaining acceptance in a group. But in friendships, this can lead to “resentments” against the other person. And if we apply this concept to our addiction and recovery, we all know that resentments are our “number-one killer,” it was it comes to relapse.
Dr. White goes on to explain that creating a “Gratitude Review” can allow you to end relationships and learn from them as well.
Here are two things I want to leave you with:
- Here is the link to the “Letting Go of a Relationship with Gratitude,” article, please feel free to comment how you challenge or confirm the content.
2. Here is the link to a Relationship Survey, that I think you might find interesting, and it is completely anonymous. The reason for the survey is for a Thesis paper I am working on so it would be greatly appreciated if you take it!
Also you can sign up for the Relationship Study email list, where I will be sending you monthly reports of how the Thesis is going and the information that I am collecting!
I know, I’m super excited as well!!!!!
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!
Lately it’s felt like groundhog day, the same daily grind from the second I wake up. It’s like I got sober to do the same thing over and over again. Maybe that’s what we do, repetition without reservations. How quickly the dark days hide now that the sun is shining bright. Not sure if the overcast is gone or just hidden by layers and layers of strong solid sobriety.
I heard a kid speak the other day. Complete millennial. I forgot what I had mentioned in group, but he was like, “dude, I wasn’t even born yet in ’85.” Geeze, thanks buddy! The kid with sandy hair looking like he carries his pillow on every Uber ride he goes on cashed in on some pretty good stuff. He said, “I wake up and I’m ok. I’m not happy, I’m not thrilled to be here, but just ok. But today, I’m ok with just being ok. Compared to the dark place I use to live for the past four years.” That makes perfect sense, to me and him at least. What doesn’t make sense to me is the Frisbee Golf league he’s in, that will never make sense. Millennias.
So a funny thing about that coffee cup. When I order coffee it’s has to sit for awhile before I drink it. I can’t drink steaming tongue burning coffee, that just doesn’t make any sense in my world. So when I buy coffee somewhere it is usually because I am driving a long way and such. So I buy coffee, eat, then I’m on my way out with the full cup. I’m about to push the door open, and I drop my cup. As I drop my cup, a guy walks in. The guy had absolutely no part of me dropping the cup. So I go up to the cashier, tell the kid sorry for the mess, can I buy another cup. The kid responds, that the guy just bought you one. I was like “wha what??” Told the guy thanks, he said no problem and as I walked to my car, I had this profound moment. YES! That’s what we need! Whatever “that” just was, I need to bottle it and give it to every American, so we can get a long, and have better days. This was amazing! Literally five seconds later I was honking and yelling at the truck in front of me who blocking my exit while he stood in line at the drive in. Fucking addicts. I am so screwed up in the head, I really just need to stay with the grind and coffee and mind my own business sometimes.
Something really cool though, at least for me. I finally got my Internet radio station hooked up. I got in to Internet radio in college and when I graduated in 2009 it was my goal to create my own home studio. Well, didn’t work for obvious reasons, however last week, or 8 years later, its finished. It’s pretty cool. I can host live shows, have people call in, have in studio guest and it records all the shows as well. It’s probably now just going to sit there but at least it’s finally done, mission accomplished, I can go on with my life now!!! #keepingitsober
Hey everyone, don’t forget to check out the Podcast at keepingitsober.org
Have a plan, like drive yourself to the party so you can get up and leave when you want. Host if you can, and make it no drinking in your house. Be accountable to a sober friend each quarter and halftime. And when in doubt, just watch it by yourself or not at all. It’s simply not worth it. This is our life we are talking about, compared to a game with highly overpaid, but amazingly talented athletes that will still be rich in the morning despite our relapses.
Between you and me, the last few days have been a challenge for me. I’m not in a good place in my recovery at all. I have no idea why. It’s been one of those “as long as I don’t use or drink today then I’ll take it”, however it feels like I’m just empty inside, if that makes sense. The good news is that during these last few days drinking and using has not popped in my head at all as far as a solution. I mean, I know what to do, which basically is do nothing and let this thing ride out. But it just feels weird.
I know, I know its all about me right!!!