Memorial Day Ramblings

Recovery from addiction is about so much more than just not drinking or using. It’s about making a connection with the ONE Who has all power.

When you still act like a thug, or a whore, or a gangster, player…well, just keep coming back, work the steps, and stick close to your Sponsor. Some people say “everybody’s selling something”. What are you selling?

The “lifestyle” of addiction takes many people to their deaths, may e even more easily because they *THINK* they’re good.

The difference between being “sober” and being “dry” can be subtle, but deadly. I’ve been around long enough to see both. Usually people who *just don’t pick up* will turn to other things to take the place of their drug (or drink) of choice, things like food, sex (or non-stop, revolving relationships), shopping, or something else that’s not as obviously detrimental as what they used to do.

Sobriety is a physical, mental, emotional and spiritual thing. Not necessarily in that order.

There are so many hurting people, every where you turn.

Without the relief I found in drugs and alcohol, albeit temporary, I never would have lived long enough to find the Solution for Living. In order to find a long-term solution for alcoholism/addiction, I had to stop using AND then address the mental illness and Complex-PTSD that I’d acquired along the way. One day at a time.

Sound like a tall order? Maybe. But if it’s your only hope, and you make up your mind to hang around with people (aka “stick with the Winners”) who are DOING IT, then it’s absolutely doable.

This weekend, I’m grateful for the men and women who gave their lives fighting for our freedom.

I’m also thinking about the ones who made it back home and NEED their community to support them. Veterans have an unnecessarily high rate of addiction, and (because it’s what alkie/druggies often do) premature death, whether by overdose, alcohol poisoning, SBC, or something else…avoidable.

IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE THAT WAY.

I aim to continue making a difference. By the grace of God. It’s all I can do.

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Monday Musings

Four Lessons on Life

1. Never take down a fence until you know why it was put up.

2. If you get too far ahead of the army, your soldiers may mistake you for the enemy.

3. Don’t complain about the bottom rungs of the ladder they helped to get you higher.

4. If you want to enjoy the rainbow, be prepared to endure the storm.

(-Warren Wiersbe)

Got some Monday nuggets of wisdom to share? Please set them down right in the comments!

Are you hungry?

I find myself ever increasing, in being aware of an emptiness in my soul. My spirit has been touched by God, of course. I am a Christ-follower.

But, still, there is such a longing for more. More of Him. More of His Spirit. MORE. The Word says that we can have as much of the Holy Spirit as we WANT.

How much do you want?

This world has beauty, and it has joyous celebrations, and peaceful moments. The Bible talks about how we think we are healthy and happy, and have all that we need. In fact, we, without Jesus, are quite the opposite. We are lower than the beggars on the street, that we try not to see.

But…I know that there is more. I have personally experienced it. Then, I was led away, back to the familiar. Sure, it was my choice, but I went.

If you are a seeker of Truth, if this world does not fulfill the deepest desires of your heart…you know, when you’re lying in bed and you wonder “is this all there is?”, then I hope you will listen to this.

Ask Him to speak to your heart, a little louder. And then respond when you hear Him.

I plan to.

Keep them alive long enough to get HELP

So, if I showed signs of having broken my leg, would you, as a religious person, tell me to pray about it, and then go on about your life? No.

If your child was diagnosed with diabetes or cancer, would you tell them to read their Bible, and that’s it? No.

Why do otherwise intelligent people insist that mental illness has to be prayed away? “If you’re depressed, read your Bible more.”

Reading scriptures and praying may not be hurtful, but I think the reasons for not going to a Dr. or therapist have much more to do with fear of what “people” would think, along with hoping that it will just go away…but it doesn’t work that way.

The last time I checked, the same people who would REFUSE to get help for a depressed child don’t think twice about taking medicine when THEY are feeling poorly.

So, here’s my point:

Familiarise yourself with symptoms of depression.

It’s NOT normal for a (child, preteen, teenager)person to stay awake all night, every night. Or to sleep 12+ hours, regularly, for no apparent reason. Or to have noticeable weight fluctuations. Or frequent tearfulness.

Often sadness is hidden behind anger. Surliness, irritability, sarcasm, isolation, fighting…

These things alone, are not necessarily a cause for alarm. If you notice several of them, on a regular basis, you should take notice.

Talk to the person. LISTEN. Then don’t stop looking for a solution until you’ve found one that is agreeable to that person.

If it takes therapy, medication, dietary adjustments, or whatever, do it.
DO SOMETHING.
People struggling with depression (or any other mental illness for that matter) DON’T just snap out of it. They will not grow out of it.

What happens if you don’t find something to reduce the depression? Do you want to know? Really?

The person will find a way of relief.

*Self-harm (this can end in accidental suicide)

*Drugs or alcohol (may also end in death)

*Impulsive/high-risk sexual activity (same)

*ALL of the above, and worse (death)

From my own experience as a person in recovery, and a formerly depressed person, I have a good amount of insight. And, I have no reason to lie to you.

If your kid is floundering, no matter what age, do them a solid and get them help.

In case you weren’t aware, they are killing themselves out there.

You don’t have to say “Yes”

(From the archives)

You don’t have to say “yes”, just stop saying “no.” 🤗

An incredibly large percentage of the people I’ve spoken with in recovery about God have a similar story to tell. In one way or another, they feel that God has let them down, or betrayed them, or they blame God for the actions of people claiming to represent Him.

In my case, I had been taught that God was angry and short-tempered; He watched my every move just waiting for the next time I screwed up. I came into The Rooms with the belief that my purpose was to be a “Whipping boy” whenever He felt like punishing someone. I certainly was never anywhere near perfect, so I knew that I deserved every bit of pain and sorrow that I received.
Not coincidentally, my vision of who God was looked remarkably like my Dad: overbearing, rageful, impatient, and entirely frightening. 😢

As I was thinking about this, I was reminded of something a friend said to me many years ago, in regards to establishing a relationship with my Creator.
I was in perpetual “bowing and scraping” mode. I was way too ashamed and fearful and guilt-ridden to even consider approaching God. Rather than beginning, I would stay stuck in the endless reasons I had for why He would not welcome any interaction with me. I was positive that I was better off doing everything I could to stay invisible to Him.

My friend told me that as far as this “introduction” to (hopefully) a loving God went, I didn’t have to put my foot on the gas pedal: I simply had to take it off of the brakes.

Instead of fighting to keep God at a distance, perhaps I just needed to stop running away, and stand still. 🤔

There have been periods in my recovery where I’ve done a better job at coasting than others.
I was talking about the “g” word with a friend recently, and she said that she was ready to start moving closer to God. It sounded like she was seriously standing on the brakes…but there is a lot to be said for “acting as if”!(You do NOT NEED to understand. Just follow directions.)

I get it. Apprehension and trepidation were my closest associates in my early days of sobriety. All I can do, after all, is share my experience, strength and hope. One of the most amazing parts of early sobriety, for me, was the (gradual) realization that I was not God. I’m gonna try not to interfere as He works His loving ways with my friend. I just hope I’ll get to watch, and that I might somehow be helpful as she inches toward the loving Father of Whom she’s in desperate need.

He knows what skittish little kittens we can be. I imagine Him sitting still with His back to us as we creep ever so silently toward Him…letting us take all the time we need, while gently coaxing us to come nearer so He can rub our fur and scratch us in the best spots.

In considering “the God part” of your recovery, I would suggest that, rather than the thought of throwing the door wide open to “whatever” may be on the other side of it, maybe just open it a crack, and then pause.

Rather than focusing on all of my “problems with God” (things that I don’t understand/agree with), my life has progressed in a positive direction when I concentrate on learning about the simplicities of His character. He wrote a book as an introduction, but for so many years I believed the hype instead of SEEING FOR MYSELF.

I’ve gotta tell you, it’s been worth it, to investigate for myself. Standing on the brakes get tiring. He hasn’t steered me wrong. Not even once.

3 great meeting types with the best recovery rates

Ok, gang, how are you all on this fine Saturday morning? It’s gray and humid here, but it’s been a good day, regardless. Even if it wasn’t, I can start my day all over again whenever I want.
Today I thought I’d share with you all my experiences with the 3 main addiction recovery meetings, at least to my knowledge.

image

Letting go. It's a good thing.

I got clean and sober in AA, having followed my Dad in, a little more than a year after he figured out what his problem was…(as opposed to the countless people, places, and things that he thought were the cause of his troubles)
I was pretty sure, as much as I was like him, if it was Dad’s actual problem, there was a good chance that the chemicals (including alcohol, of course) were also at the root of my misery. I remember spending many hours at a meeting place where NA & AA both had regularly scheduled meetings. Folks from all walks of life could be found there from dawn to dusk, all with (mostly) the same (ish) goal: to stop the pain. Some were of the understanding that alcohol &/or drugs were the problem. Many thought that the police and the Judge were their only real pain. I know many folks grabbed ahold of sobriety and were “willing to go to any lengths”, while perhaps as many others just showed up to get their card signed. The oldtimers used to tell us they would “gladly refund your misery” if sobriety, uh, wasn’t for you. Sometimes folks went out to do some more research (to be surethey really were drunks), and came crawling back in, and sometimes they didn’t make it back.
By going to meetings several times a week, I was frequently reminded of the alternatives to getting sober and staying that way. Sobriety, even being such a foreign idea, sounded better to me than continuing to live in the darkness and misery I was so accustomed to.

I found kindred spirits in the 12-stpe rooms. Regardless of what or where or who I was with, before, I was never fully at ease. I didn’t find comfort for my heart, my spirit, in any of the places where I looked. Only after some time clean/sober, with the help of a Sponsor, did I begin to feel…comfortable. They told me that the solution was in the steps, and I was willing to do anything, so I worked the steps. Somewhere along the way I realized that in contrast to before, when pain was just the inevitable result of so many poor choices, now pain was a real part of growing away from that mess. Hence the phrase “growing pains”.

At some point, I became curious about Celebrate Recovery. I wasn’t ready to go to church yet (not for about 5 years, and then it was a while before I felt at all comfortable there), but I did attend a few cR meetings. They were similar to AA, but a bit too sweet for me. I had previously been in a very abusive situation with a man who claimed to be a Christian, and that left a vile taste in my mouth where anything that resembled “churchianity” was concerned.
And also, I was more comfortable (still am, truthfully)in a more hardcore meeting. “If I wanted someone to pat me on the ass & tell me everything was gonna be alright, I’d go to a bar.”
I needed the truth in love, yes, but not given with a smile and some sugar. That was my impression of CR, at least at the ones I went to. I was used to getting one over on anyone who was the least bit trusting and/or ignorant to the hustles that are such an integral part of the addict lifestyle. Also, my experience had taught me to never trust people who were “happy” all the time. I still feel that way at times. But if you’re comfortable in a church setting, I wholeheartedly encourage you to go to Celebrate Recovery. I’m a big fan of several meetings every week, and that usually means more than one of these fellowships. Good news: you’ll find other folks from the other meetings at the other two, too.

After about 10 years, I began attending NA meetings instead of AA.
When I got sober, the NA meetings I’d been to were more like meat markets (AA can be the same, to be sure), but I heard so much “glorifying the drug” and the like, that I’d settled into AA. Plus, AA was where Dad went, so… 🙂
So, after 10 years or so in recovery, I went back to NA, as I had a friend wirh longterm recovery who attended AA and NA. By that time, there was a whole lot more recovery…maybe it was just the meetings I went to, but it seemed more abstinance-focused than before. I knew more than one person with more time clean than me, and that was comforting. I enjoy NA because there’s no one looking at you funny when you talk about drugs, and I suppose I have more in common with the members there.
That being said, I qualify for both fellowships (and a few more, really, but that’s for another post.), and nowadays it doesn’t much matter to me which I attend. The fellowship is of great importance to me now, having gone through the steps more than a couple of times. I’m positive that I’d never have made it this far if I hadn’t had a Sponsor to help me through the steps.
I encourage anyone who’s contemplating this whole “sobriety” thing to check out any or all these groups. Give them a couple of tries, each.
What have you got to lose? You might just find your tribe. And, if I’m lucky, I might get to see you there.

Posted from my soggy cabin in the mountains.