Category Archives: My Stuff

Retro Recovery: Now Or Never

Recovery Retro

Recovery Retro features posts from my archives 2016-2017, my chronicles of recovery from alcoholism, mental health issues, and substance abuse. After 35 years of chaos, my life in several VA Treatment Programs was anything but boring. Join me as I share with you my most intimate posts about spirituality, living in the now, acceptance, gratitude, mindfulness, and the lessons I learned that keep me sober to this day.

Published 03/16/2017 at 8:45 p.m. – Day 151 of Treatment
my_recovery

I am 53 and for the first time in my life I am in extended recovery from alcoholism.  Although I was sober for 3 months once, I have never actually been in recovery.

I just passed my 10th month sobriety/recovery!  And, although I have had many challenges during this time, I have learned 4 major concepts that have instrumental in keeping me a clean and sober man today.  Dare I say, these 4 things may also be a helpful roadmap to any of you who might be suffering in one way or another.

faith on justruminating men's blog

Faith–“complete trust or confidence in someone or something.”  I’m not going to sit here and tell you me and my Higher Powers are having lunch everyday.  Yes, I said Powers.  It’s plural because I have complete trust and confidence in several entities.  My Higher Powers take many forms.  The important thing is that when life is punching me in the face, because I believe in something greater than myself, I am able to take the hits and keep moving forward.

gratitude on justruminating men's blog

Gratitude–“the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.”  I have learned that being grateful for the little things can add up to great things.

Appreciating what I have, instead of whining about what I don’t have.  Reaching out to others in acts of service or kindness is deeply fulfilling and gives me a sense of gratitude.  Seeing the good in people and in life is a major shift in my way of thinking.  Practicing this has had a great impact on my daily attitude as well.

mindfulness on justruminating men's blog

Mindfulness–“the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something.”  There was another, more fancy definition, but this will suffice.  Mindfulness has completely changed my life.  I can’t emphasize this enough.

I have learned to be in the moment, to live in what Eckhart Tolle has written in his powerful book “The Power of Now.”  When I am able to practice this successfully, I can simply observe myself being myself, and make adjustments accordingly.  I used to let my emotions and feelings rule the day.  Each day I am getting better at just being in the now and operating my life from a position of strength.

acceptance on justruminating men's blog

Acceptance–“assent to the reality of a situation, recognizing a process or condition (often a negative or uncomfortable situation) without attempting to change it, protest.”  A cornerstone to the famous “Serenity Prayer.”

I have learned to simply live life on life’s terms, come what may.  I can also accept people, places, and things that may not be desirable or agreeable to me, and I can be ok with that.  I used to whine and complain about everything, because it wasn’t for or about me.  I am learning how to sit with Acceptance and simply be ok.  I can also let you simply be.  And that’s ok too.

So there you have it.  To me, these are 4 powerful concepts that, when practiced with diligence and determination, can keep me in full recovery for the rest of my life.  Of course, they are not the only things that are effective for keeping someone sober.  You may very well have your own.  However, I will say this:  If I had to choose only 4 concepts to guide me, I’m going with these.

living in the now on justruminating mens blog

Now“living in the present moment.”  I would add that living in the NOW would be a 5th concept.  It has also brought me to a way of thinking and being that has dramatically improved the quality of my life as well.  So 5 then.  Lol. Not only that, but I honestly believe they will continue to be life changing for me for the rest of my life as well.

I had a guy on Etsy create a wooden token for me.  I wanted to give myself–and the guys (and gal) here in the program something they could put in their pockets.

Something that might remind them of their daily struggle and the coping skills that they might be able to rely upon to get them through life’s situations.  I carry my AA medallions with me and am always playing with them to remind me of what my purpose is.  Here is what he came up with, showing both sides of the coin.  I love it!

If you, or a loved one, is suffering from addiction or living a life of misery and unhappiness, I urge you to look into these concepts for yourself.  Oh, and buy Tolle’s “The Power of Now.”  It will completely change the way you view and live your life!

My Sunny Side: Being Content

I love nature! I grew up in New Hampshire, a mostly rural state with plenty of majestic woods, ponds, lakes, and the White Mountains.
sunny_side_up_on_recoverywise

Today I celebrate 8 months of sobriety!  It has been an interesting ride so far.  I became sober on May 12, the day I was put in jail.

sobriety

Some would say that I am not undergoing the real “test” until I resume my “normal” life.  I would say that, although that may be somewhat true, I still choose everyday not to pick up.

I have had certain events occur this week that have sorely challenged my sobriety.  And yet, I choose not to pick up.  As a matter of fact, I have hardly given these situations the energy that I might have normally when I was drinking; that’s tremendous progress!

Although there will always be forces in life testing my resolve, I am coming to understand the true nature of life and my mantras are acceptance and gratitude.  When I accept what life is dishing out, when I accept that I have to deal with life on life’s terms, I maintain control of my emotions.

recovery on justruminating men's blog

Similarly, when I go through my day mindful of all that I have to be grateful for, life’s problems shrink and become so much more manageable.  There will always be people, places, and things that will challenge me.  I used to think that life owed me happiness.  I used to think life owed me inordinate measures of peace and tranquility.

Alas, not so any more.  I now realize–yes, it’s taken me nearly 57 years–that the times of peace and tranquility are but fleeting and should be relished.  The rest of the time life is going to be life, people will be people.  I can’t change people.  I can’t change situations.  I can’t change life.

What I can change, however, is how I respond to them.  I can change how I think about them.  I can choose to relinquish my power or I can choose to not let them tap my inner resources.  I choose acceptance and gratitude.

Today, I am grateful for 8 months of recovery!  And nothing, and NOBODY, will ever take that away from me.  It’s not available.  It’s not an option.

recovered on justruminating men's blog

My Photography: Downpour

Photography by Robert M. Levasseur

Robmoji: 10 Things I Hate

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Robmoji was created in late 2016 as my ID (Freud people). Irreverent and abrasive, Robmoji says things that are usually inappropriate and dramatic. So, if you are touchy, you may become aggravated with Robmoji.

WHO IS ROBMOJI?

So ya, I was on the crapper and I got to thinking about things I really hate, and things that really aggravate me.  I made this list to make it easier for you to pay attention.  You’re welcome.

*1.  I hate it when someone leaves the roll of toilet paper with, like two sheets left.  I mean, I have to bend over, hope my cheeks are staying open then duck walk to get a new roll.  Come on, you’ve all done it.

checks on justruminating men's blog

*2.  How about the lady who has been standing in line at the checkout with you–for like an hour–then decides she wants to pull out the checkbook at the counter.  WTF lady!  You couldn’t pull it out any time BEFORE then?  And who the hell uses checks anymore anyway?  Aren’t they like banned in 40 countries?

*3.  You think leaving the milk in the fridge with 2 drops left is fooling anyone?  Dope, I’m gonna know as soon as I pick it up!  Just finish it off and throw it away.  Same goes for the Peanut Butter.  You don’t do it with the clear jars do you?  Oh no, cause then I would know what the hell you’re up to!  Knock it off!

line on justruminating men's blog

*4.  Let’s see, can anyone give me a good definition for a LINE?  Lines have been around since Jesus gave those minions by the sea bread and fish, am I right?  Of course I am.  He stands in front of me.  I stand in front of her, in line, waiting our turns!

Nowhere does it say that YOU get to come up and cut the line.  Also, there is no letting someone cut the line!  You are not that important.  You don’t get to make that call.  There is an unseen force that is in charge of lines.  And it’s definitely NOT YOU!  Get in line with the rest of us chump.

*5.  Some people did not pay attention to Elmo when they were little.  Forget some dolts didn’t have tv, the word got around.  There is a RIGHT WAY to sneeze dammit!  NOT all over me, the food, the wall, the ground, the desk, the door.  NO!  Here it is for all you disgusting humans that are rude and gross, Elmo’s explanation on how to properly sneeze.  By the way, age isn’t an excuse, he’s been teaching kids how to sneeze for like, 1,000 years.  Initiate it into your life, TODAY for God’s Sake

*6.  People who push their pets into our faces should be shot on site.  YOU love your pet, I don’t.  I may have a pet one day and I can ASSURE YOU, I will NOT be posting it on Instagram, Telegram, Sam I Am, or any other place in the entire damn universe!

*7.  I have perused the internet on many dating sites in my day, so LADIES PAY ATTENTION:  If you are going to upload pictures, how about making them attractive?  Side shots of you walking, pictures of you freakin’ animals (see above, in case by some catastrophe you missed it).  Pictures taken from a mile away, photos from the Dark Ages WILL NOT procure you a normal human being.  I mean, do I really need to say this?  WAKE UP!  You are trying to find Mr. Right, not some knuckle-dragging troglodyte that has never seen the outside of a basement, right?

likers on justruminating men's blog

*8.  Mega likers just fuck off.  Go to hell and die on the way.  I know your game, you know your game, we all know your game.  You are so very stupid if you think you fool any of the people you are “liking.”  So stop, just…freakin’…stop.  Could be Facebook, Cookie Knook, Johnny’s Gook, Dummy Spook, anywhere.  STOP!

*9.  Ten mile long posts.  Why?  For the love of God why??!!  How much freakin’ time do you think I have anyway?  You can’t get your point across without trying to set a record for word count?  Sum it up chump!  Most of what you are writing is REDUNDANT!  Unless you are trying to solve the riddle of the universe, KEEP IT SIMPLE STUPID.  That’s why you’re stuck at -25 followers.  A picture or two wouldn’t kill you would it?  Ugh…

*10.  This list, ugh, I’m annoyed with it.  Good luck.

Retro Recovery: Now Or Never

Recovery Retro

Recovery Retro features posts from my archives 2016-2017, my chronicles of recovery from alcoholism, mental health issues, and substance abuse. After 35 years of chaos, my life in several VA Treatment Programs was anything but boring. Join me as I share with you my most intimate posts about spirituality, living in the now, acceptance, gratitude, mindfulness, and the lessons I learned that keep me sober to this day.

Published 03/30/2017 at 4:09 p.m. – Day 142 of Treatment
my_recovery

So it’s been a little while since I discussed my recovery.  I can’t catch you all up if you haven’t been following, but here is the Reader’s Digest version:

On May 12, 2016 I went to jail for 5 months.  I came out sober into a 2 month program, then I went to the current program.  I’ve been here for 3 1/2 months.

There you go!  Well, on Tuesday I had a phone interview with the new place I have been considering.  Normally I have been applying the principles of Acceptance, Gratitude, Spirituality, Mindfulness and living in the Now, to cope with day to day situations.  Alas, after my phone call, this was not to be!

What happened is that I turned all the information about the new place into negatives.  I was also upset that they wanted me to move there next Monday or Tuesday.  I had a meltdown.  I got sad, pissed, depressed.  I was considering looking for another program.  If it were not for my best friend, it could have been much worse.  But, thanks to her love, understanding, and insightful advice, I was able to come to my senses.

It was about a 2 hour period of time that I was distraught.  I was pissed at myself for not utilizing my coping strategies.  I should have seen this coming.  By the time I went to bed that evening, I had pretty much resolved the situation in my mind.  I was back to my old self-pretty much-and decided to bite the bullet.  But the situation had me wondering:  why the meltdown?”  Why such an emotional response to moving onward and upward in my sobriety?

The answer crept up on me sometime yesterday.  I was afraid!  I feared moving out of the safety and security of the institutions I’ve been part of for nearly 11 months!  I was shocked.  This new program is much more like living on your own than relying upon a program with a slew of staff at your beck and call.  I realized that in treatment I may have gotten a little too comfortable.  I did what I was supposed to do, but I didn’t put in due diligence and fully prepare for re-entry into the “real” world.  I will not make that mistake again, I can assure you.

The new place quite demanding in getting you to pursue a job and a place to live as soon as possible.  They require rent.  They require you to provide for yourself in every basic way.  They also do not drug test.  So recovery is now “real:”  no safety net to keep you from drinking.  I realized that the thought of being thrust into society like that made me very apprehensive.  Then I started thinking it through and had the kinds of thought processes I have had all along:  I GOT THIS.  It’s time to get it done.

Any program or place I go is going to have its pluses and minuses.  I reacted immaturely, and irrationally.  But I recovered quickly and got my head out of my ass!  Any place I go is going to be one step closer to getting my life back.  Any place I go I will need to integrate myself back into living my own life.  It’s one step closer to perhaps going back to school.  Life is standing at my doorstep.  Sink or Swim.  Game Time.  The Big Show.  And you know what?  I GOT THIS.

I am going to face the challenges head on and come out on top.  I am not going to worry about finding a place to live, a job, food, rent, or any other obstacle.  I am going to live in the NOW, as in right this moment.  I am going to focus on what I can control and let go of what I cannot.  And, although I did lose my shit for a few hours, I got myself back to good pretty quickly.  And I allowed myself to show vulnerability to my friend, and she came through with flying colors.  I am blessed.  Truly.

So that’s it folks.  I should be moving out of here within 2 weeks.  Onward and upward.  I’m ready for the next challenge.  I will update you once I get settled.  And I am ready for Spring!

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