Tag Archives: Acceptance

Recovery Retro: Change The Tape

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 01/09/2017 at 8:00 am – Day 84 of Treatment
My Ruminations Me A To Z

As I go through this morning I found myself starting to become negative about all the groups I have to attend here at the treatment facility.

And then I got real with myself.  I had to remind myself why I am here.  I had to have a little pep talk with myself about my recovery and its aims.

As a recovering alcoholic I am learning I must always be vigilant to what my tapes are playing in my head.  I am learning to recognize negative thinking patterns.  I never really paid much attention to my thoughts.

Now, however, I am in tune with my thoughts and how much they affect my emotions and behaviors throughout the day.  Some call this “mindfulness.”

When I am mindful that my thoughts may be negative, judgmental, or just plain ineffective, I am able to simply “change the tape.”  That is to say, reorient my thinking to go down positive pathways.

thoughtscharacter on justruminating men's blog

Becoming in tune with how you think from moment to moment can help you to begin to change some of the negative consequences in your life.  This happens when you say to yourself “This way of thinking is not healthy for me.”  Then you simply change the tape!

You will be amazed at how much quieter your world becomes.  How much more at peace your life becomes!  So today, rather than bitch and complain about all the groups I have to attend, while I might not embrace them and do cartwheels, I will remember they are essential to my recovery and well being!

Recovery: Living Sober

Recovery Living Sober I
90 Page Booklet

Recovery: Living Sober Book by Alcoholics Anonymous is an excellent resource if you want to learn how to maintain long-term sobriety. In this three part series, I will present summaries of many of the concepts put forth in this book. It’s only 90 pages, and packed with excellent advice.

It contains, as the subtitle states, “Some methods A.A. members have used for not drinking.” What I like most about this book is, even if you are not immersed in recovery through regular A.A. Meetings and the sub-culture, you can still benefit tremendously from Living Sober.

Read The Entire Booklet Here
1. Staying Away From the First Drink

Many of us have come to believe that our alcoholism is an addiction to the drug alcohol; like addicts of any sort who want to maintain recovery, we have to keep away from the first dose of the drug we have become addicted to.

2. Using The 24 Hour Plan

The 24-hour plan is very flexible. We can start it afresh at any time, wherever we are. At home, at work, in a bar or in a hospital room, at 4:00 p.m. or at 3:00 a.m., we can decide right then not to take a drink during the forthcoming 24 hours, or five minutes. Once the idea has become part of our thinking, we find that living life in 24-hour segments is an effective and satisfying way to handle many other matters as well.

3. What To Remember About Alcoholism

We remember we have an incurable, potentially fatal ailment called alcoholism. And instead of persisting in drinking, we prefer to figure out, and use, enjoyable ways of living without alcohol. We remember that alcoholism is incurable–just like some other illnesses. It cannot be “cured” in this sense: We cannot change our body chemistry and go back to being the normal, moderate social drinkers lots of us seemed to be in our youth.

4. “Live and Let Live”

We must face this fact: There are people in A.A., and everywhere else, who sometimes say things we disagree with, or do things we don’t like. Learning to live with differences is essential to our comfort. It is exactly in those cases that we have found it extremely helpful to say to ourselves, “Oh well, ‘Live and Let Live.'”

5. Getting Active

Simply trying to avoid a drink (or not think about one), all by itself, doesn’t seem to be enough. The more we think about the drink we’re trying to keep away from, the more it occupies our mind, of course. And that’s no good. It’s better to get busy with something, almost anything, that will use our mind and channel our energy toward health.

6. Using The Serenity Prayer

Whether we see the Serenity Prayer as an actual prayer or just as a fervent wish, it offers a simple prescription for a healthy emotional life. We’ve put one thing right at the head of the list among “the things we cannot change:” our alcoholism. No matter what we do, we know that tomorrow we won’t suddenly be nonalcoholic–any more than we’ll be ten years younger or six inches taller. Serenity is like a gyroscope that lets us keep our balance no matter what turbulence swirls around us. And that is a state of mind worth aiming for.

7. Changing Old Routines

When you want not to drink, it helps to shake up all those routines that are constant reminders of our days drinking, and change the pieces around. So take your pick. You know what your own drinking pattern has been and how you feel about your sobriety today.

8. Eating or Drinking Something

Many of us have learned that something sweet-tasting, or almost any nourishing food or snack, seems to dampen a bit the desire for a drink. So, from time to time, we remind each other never to get too hungry. So the next time the temptation to drink arises, let’s eat a little, or sip something gooey.

9. Making Use of “Telephone Therapy”

The transition to enjoyment of sobriety sometimes begins when, newly sober, we keep in touch with others equally new at the game. We are usually more at ease with those who, like ourselves, are just setting out toward recovery. Later, it helps to reach for the phone instead of a drink. Even when we don’t think it will work. Even when we don’t want to.

In The Now: Live Fully Now

Live Fully Now – In this 7 minute video. Alan Watts speaks about time being an illusion – which what he refers to as Maya. He explains how time moves from the past, present and into the future and how time is an illusion.

Recovery Retro: Self Condemnation

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 10/31/2016 at 5:00 am – Day 14 of Treatment
Recovery Retro Self Condemnation

As I had mentioned in an earlier post, I love Notes To Myself, By Hugh Prather, it was one of the first books I read about self introspection.

Somehow over the years the lessons he shares in his book went by the wayside.  The book helped me to come into focus with the messages. They keenly pinpoint the flaws within which the mind can bring us discord both in our heads, and in our relationships with those around us.

It is a book you can pick up and read any passage at any time, as his thoughts are written not in a linear way, but sort of happenstance.  Bring this book into your life!

One of my favorite quotes in the book is:

“The criticism that hurts the most is the one that echoes my own self-condemnation.”

How Often Do We Fixate On Our Mistakes?

How often do we carry guilt, shame, anger, disappointment over something we have said or done?  I am learning just how much guilt I have been carrying over the years. How it has crippled my sense of well-being. And certainly how it has kept me living in my head.

I hold the belief that many of us have a very difficult time letting go, moving forward, forgiving ourselves.  What Prather is saying is that we drift so far away from just being, that to live in one’s head is not honoring the peace we all richly deserve.  If we can just let ourselves off the hook and live today in the knowing that we are perfect. That we are the greatest creation and we didn’t have to do anything at all, then I truly believe we set ourselves back on this path.

Along the way, the “yes” of our birth-right was clouded by who we thought we were supposed to be based on the experiences without ourselves that turned our existence into “no.”  That is to say, we lost the wonder of ourselves and the love of just being the miracle we are.

Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

Today I will meditate on this and probably experience painful memories. However, in meditation I am learning how to connect with my soul rather than my mind.  I can’t remember who exactly said “The mind is a powerful wish-fulfilling machine.” It is a powerful statement that illustrates this danger of self within the mind.

Along these lines is the concept of “self-fulfilling prophecy.”  Self-fulfilling prophecy is defined as “a false definition of the situation evoking a new behaviour which makes the original false conception come ‘true’.”

In The Now: It’s Your Primetime

Carpe Diem!

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