Tag Archives: alcohol

My Sunny Side: Thank You So Much!

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Thank you everyone who has shown me such incredible love and support over the last 5 months!

Today I celebrate over 1,010 of you!  It boggles my mind that so many of you have chosen to follow my blog.

As you know I have just entered my 9th month of sobriety.  I am not kidding when I say YOU have lots to do with that!  Your kindnesses, your occasional emails, your comments on my posts, all have contributed to my recovery and wellness.  I am eternally blessed to have your time, affection, and attention.

You give me courage to post some of my more difficult material.  You give me strength to consider even posting more difficult material.  You support me in my endeavors, and I only hope I can give back to you in like kind.

1000followers on justrumianting men's blogI am always here for you, no matter what you are going through.  You are welcome to email me any time at keatsj1964@gmail.com.  I write to release my life into the world.  But if there wasn’t a world filled with you’s, it would be kind of pointless.  So:

THANKYOU-THANKYOU-THANKYOU-THANKYOU-THANKYOU-THANKYOU-THANKYOU!

My Recovery: I’m Not An Alcoholic

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Hi, my name is Rob, and I am in recovery for alcoholism.  I always hated saying “Hi, I’m Rob, I’m an alcoholic.”  It doesn’t fit anymore.  I don’t drink.  I am in recovery.  I am a recovering alcoholic, but I choose to remove the alcoholic in that phrase.  Eventually, I will introduce myself as “Hi, I’m Rob.  What’s your name?”  Recovery may end up being lifelong, but the label won’t

Most of my drinking “career” was binge drinking:  when I drank, I drank until the liquor was gone and then went looking for more.  I didn’t become a raging alcoholic until I met my ex.  She was an alcoholic as well.  Kaboom!

After our first 6 months I began to drink nightly.  No need to get into all that.  The point of my post is this:  I began a death spiral to nothingness that lasted until just over 6 months ago.  I drank mainly out of boredom, but it quickly escalated to mainly avoiding the situation I found myself in.

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In the mind of this drinker I just wanted to get buzzed.  All the time.  I wanted to check out of my surroundings and I did that every night straight for 2.5 years!  Some non-drinkers wonder what goes on in the mind of an alcoholic.  They wonder:

  • Why can’t he quit?  Why doesn’t he quit
  • What is it that I’m doing wrong?
  • Why aren’t we important enough for him to want to quit?
  • Why the relapses?
  • Doesn’t he know what this is doing to him/us/me?

Here’s what was in the mind of my alcoholic me:

  • I can quit, I just don’t want to.  I don’t need to quit, everything is ok.
  • You are not doing anything wrong:  I want to drink, I have to drink.  It’s my obsession.
  • You are important enough, you and my drinking have nothing to do with one another
  • Because try as I might, the urge to check out and to get high are too strong and I haven’t worked my issues out.
  • I know exactly what I am doing to myself/you.  I just don’t have the coping skills to change it.
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Or something along those lines.  I never gave sobriety a real shot.  I think I quit once for about 3 months.  I used the death of my mother as an excuse to start up again.  This is my longest period of sobriety at 208 days. 

I do not plan on relapsing.  I can’t.  I won’t.  I am developing new patterns of thinking.  I am learning new ways to cope with life on life’s terms.  I am rigorous in my honesty as to what got me to this point in my life.

I’m going to do the following things that I have learned–and know–will keep me sober:

  1. Continue outpatient therapy when I leave my 3 month VA work program in March.
  2. Attend AA meetings, but keep that whole thing manageable and logical.
  3. Frequent the gym at least 4 times per week:  Health is Wealth-physical and spiritual!
  4. Find new sober friends, sober hangouts, sober things to do.
  5. Write, interact with you wonderful community members, write, write, write.
  6. Rekindle my passion for swimming, hiking, jogging, fishing, bowling.
  7. Kill the TV set.  Nothing good comes out of watching others live fantasy lives.
  8. Avoid isolating behaviors.  If I isolate I will go within and live in my head, and I can’t have that.
  9. Avoid boredom.  Boredom is the number 1 reason why I drank so often.
  10. Moderation in all things.  I have to maintain balance in everything I do.
  11. Meditate.  Meditation is the single most dramatic life changing event that I need to continue.
  12. Avoid people, places, things that might act as triggers.  When triggers come, utilize a myriad of coping skills to deal.
  13. Read.  Read literature that will help strengthen my resolve, help me evolve, help me reach newer heights.
Whatever it takes Robert Levasseur

This is my roadmap to staying sober.  I happen to think it’s a damn good one.  I know in my heart of hearts that as long as I adhere to as many of these things as possible, I will be a lifelong sober man.

I am very fortunate.  I do not obsess over drinking.  I do not crave alcohol.  I am over “missing” my “dear” friend alcohol.  I have faced a few situations where I should have, but did not, think about using.  I am lucky because that would be a hindrance that would be very difficult to overcome.

I refuse to be like many of my fellow Veterans here:  I will not have my name embroidered on one of these chairs.  In other words, treatment is not a lifelong option for me.  This is my one and done.  Take it to the bank; ’cause that’s a check you can cash.

My Recovery: Stuff

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I consider myself lucky in recovery.  I don’t go through withdrawals.  I don’t obsess about not drinking.  When difficult situations are before me, I don’t default to thinking about checking out.  I don’t have cravings.

However, what I do find hindering my growth and progress in recovery is living in my own head.  Spending too much time with my “stuff.”  If I remain entrenched in my brain, languishing around with all the stuff I’ve accumulated, chewing on all the thoughts and emotions that constantly bombard it, I know that I remain in a fixed position; I am not moving forward.

You see, my head is where all the stuff is.  And, by nature, I think we alcoholics love our stuff.  We surround ourselves with it.  We constantly look at it, hold it, take it with us wherever we go.  Our stuff is familiar, it’s strangely comforting.  It’s what we know.  We just want to think about and be around our stuff all day.

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Here’s the problem:  if I don’t start giving some of this stuff away, I will remain imprisoned by it.  If I don’t start getting new stuff, I’ll always be stuck in reverse.  If I don’t at least share my stuff, then what they say in AA starts to be all too real:  I will remain “as sick as your [my] secrets.”

So I’m working on getting rid of some of this stuff.  It’s taking up too much space.  It’s not allowing me to make room for new stuff.  Time for new stuff like appreciation for myself, empathy and tolerance of others.  Time for appreciating the wonders of nature, for positive thoughts and behaviors. Revolutionary thoughts like loving myself, living life on life’s terms, letting go of the past.  Time for forgiving myself, for being ok with my emotions as they come, for letting go of anger and resentments.

Until I step outside myself, until I embrace real recovery, I will end up with just a bunch of dusty old antiques.  Antiques keep us tied to the past.  Antiques color the world with romantic notions of how life was, or seemingly is; hues that can be deceptive, inaccurate, deceiving.

No, today I will try to trash some of my stuff; I will try to get rid of at least one piece.  And, if I can’t manage that, I will at least put my stuff away.  Not ignore it, not bury it in another place, just put it down for the day.  I will try to notice the bare branches of December.  I will strike up a conversation with a stranger.

I will kick my feet through a random pile of leaves.  I will get out of my head and be present in the moments that make up my day.  I will put my stuff on the shelf and put myself out there.  I will live outside myself, even just for a few moments.

And that’s good stuff!  That’s the stuff that will slowly change my label from “recovering” to “recovered.”  I’ve already gotten rid of the label “alcoholic” now it’s time to get at the clutter and change another one.  Once and for all.  Permanently.

My Recovery: Why I Won’t Relapse

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In the 6 weeks I’ve been here at the Boston VA for Alcoholism Treatment in all the groups, therapy sessions, meetings, no one has ever asked us to list the ways that alcohol has negatively impacted our lives, or will impact our lives should we pick up again.

I think this is a missed opportunity.  I think if we as recovering alcoholics/addicts had an exercise where we attempted to list many of the ways in which our disease has reared its ugly head, or how it will affect us if we do pick up again, that it might have some impact.

It might also be a good list to keep handle should I start thinking that I am ok to pick up again.  I am pretty sure it would put me right back on the right path.

So here goes!  This isn’t going to be pretty:

20 Reasons Why I Won’t Ever Drink Alcohol Ever Again:

  1. I become a loud, overbearing, and obnoxious asshole.
  2. I have picked up the phone lots of times and bought other drugs.
  3. I ruined almost every single friendship I’ve ever had since college.
  4. Drunk dialing.
  5. Drunk driving.
  6. Defects of the mind and character.  Suicide attempts.
  7. Financial ruin.  I am homeless and poor.
  8. I will end up back in jail.
  9. Kids out of my life. (mainly an affliction of the exes poison.  Yes, SHE owns that, I NEVER drank in front of the kids).
  10. I got kicked out of the military for an OUI in Germany, then subsequently tested positive for hash (Honorable).
  11. I got 2 USA OUI’s and have 2 years of jail time/probation hanging over my head.
  12. I have had over 60 jobs out of 48 years of eligible employment.  Yeah, that one staggers me when I added them up.
  13. I destroyed, or have been involved in destroying 4 out of 5 of my significant adult relationships (of more than 3 years).
  14. Loss of major income.  I have wasted umpteen thousands of dollars on alcohol and drugs.
  15. I cannot have just one.  I have to close every place I go.
  16. Isolation, loneliness, depression, despair.
  17. High blood pressure, weight gain, physical exhaustion.
  18. Cost of car insurance, and installation of a breathalyzer in my car (which I currently don’t own).
  19. Instability, chaos, loss, depression.
  20. I will end up dead.

So there you have it folks:  it ain’t pretty, but that’s my truth.  And having just finished the list and reading over it, it staggers me and I have to take a moment to regroup.  Not all my life has been that doom and gloom, lol.  But for the most part it has not been pretty.  I think tomorrow or Sunday I will post 20 Great Things I’ve Done In My Life, just so you don’t think I am a complete washout.  I know you don’t think that, just sayin’

Alcohol is a disease.  Alcohol will swallow you whole, chew you up, and vomit you onto the cold hard pavement.  It will do this over, and over, and over again.  Alcohol got me so I ended up a lonely, isolate–but on the mend!!– poet blogging at a VA Treatment Facility on a Friday afternoon.

But a sober, lonely poet (wink).