Thursday, May 22, 2014

Reflections on the Road to Recovery from Alcoholism- His ways are not your ways

...on the Road to Recovery

                                                      His ways are not your ways

You know God does not do bad things. But sometimes you may fail to realize that everything that feels bad to you is not necessarily bad for you. Reminding yourself that His ways are not your ways will help you trust Him even when your circumstances are hard to understand.-Joyce Meyer

Do you believe this?

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Reflections on the Road to Recovery from Alcoholism- Contempt prior to investigation

...on the Road to Recovery

                                                 Contempt prior to investigation

"There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which can not fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance-that principle is contempt prior to investigation."

Have you ever had someone suggest that a belief you have may be wrong, and before they even finish, you cut them off because "you really don't want to hear it"? Or have a friend make a suggestion that you should try something new - and your reaction is, "Thanks, but no thanks. I'm just fine with the way things are going" (even if they're not going so well...).

I had a professional counselor once tell me that I may not believe this or like to hear it but, "I walk around with some beliefs that are absolutely wrong"!  That was a shocking consideration.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Reflections on the road to Recovery from alcoholism- Identifying ourselves

.......on the Road to Recovery

                                                  Identifying ourselves

In AA recovery meetings, people identify themselves in many different ways. Let's take the fictional "Mary" for example.

My name is Mary and I'm:

an alcoholic
a recovering alcoholic
a recovered alcoholic
a grateful, recovering alcoholic
powerless over alcohol
a recovering alcoholic and addict

I'm writing on the topic to get readers to consider why people use these different identifiers and what the differences imply.

Just as an fyi - I use "Hello I'm Rick and I'm an alcoholic.

Long ago, as I listened to others begin differently I  concluded any of them would apply to me, but decided I better keep mine really simple... so I don't get confused!


Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Reflections on the road to Recovery from alcoholism- abstinence or sobriety?

...on the Road to Recovery

                                                 Abstinence or Sobriety?

I have been hearing this theme a lot lately at meetings:

 Is sobriety solely the absence of alcohol in our lives? 

Sayings like "just go to meetings" and "don't drink" seem to imply this. There is, however, another theme that basically says not taking that first drink and abstaining from alcohol is just a start to recovery.

Sobriety as "Soundness of Mind"

Sobriety, in many dictionaries and other sources, is defined as "soundness of mind." Is it possible or even reasonable that  alcoholics can just stop drinking - and do nothing else - and have their lives change from a pit of despair, misery and selfishness to one of happiness joy and freedom? 

If you are in recovery programs, you will hear  phrases such as "dry drunk," and  "stinkin thinkin."  I always find it funny, but containing a serious message, when I hear the statement, " If you take alcohol away from an alcoholic horse thief... you are left with a horse thief." 

I personally have witnessed several alcoholics who stop drinking, but do not work any kind of program of recovery. I have seen them cry, wreck their lives, even end up in mental institutions... all without drinking. I have heard relatives say, "We were much better off when fill in the name... was drinking - at least they got drunk and passed out - left us alone."

Transformation of the Old Me to the New Me

In my years of recovery, I have discovered this:  removing alcohol from my life did many positive things... the most significant was to uncover so that I could discover what my problem really is... me. It led me to understand what my character defects were (the exact nature of my wrongs) and then provided me with the tools to begin the transformation of the old me to a new me.

"Immersing" Ourselves in the Program

This transformation required immersing myself in the "full program of recovery." This included (and still includes) getting a sponsor, working the steps, engaging in the fellowship, finding and building a relationship with a Power greater than myself,  doing service work, carrying the message of hope of recovery to others... along with a few other things.

I think you would agree that the above involves a whole new way of living, much more than just not drinking... but the work also brings with it a fullness of recovery - for the benefit of ourselves and those around us.

I speak often to newcomers about this idea of "immersing ourselves in recovery." One day one of these new people asked me "what does immersion include - what do I need to do?" This question has inspired me to begin writing my second book on recovery, "AA Bootcamp."  I am very excited about being able to hand it to the next newcomer who asks me what they need to do to get better.