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Retro Recovery: Those Emotions

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 02/28/2017 at 7:25 p.m. – Day 132 of Treatment
my_recovery

A.A. has a lot of terrific slogans that can be applied to anything in life.  I have compiled a list and put comments next to each one as to what I think that slogan means for me, not for you, for me.  Feel free to comment with any I have missed.  You don’t have to go to A.A. to benefit from A.A., but it is one of the pillars by which I remain sober today.

Here is Part I of the list.  I will post the rest of the list down the road:

  • Easy does itslowing my world down.  It means not getting too high, not getting too low.
  • First things firstalways keeping my sobriety first, no matter what is happening in my life, sobriety first, everything else second.
  • Live and let liveI will live my life and be at peace letting others live theirs.
  • But for the grace of god–if it wasn’t for God, I’d be in deep shit.
  • Let go and let godhand over your control, your troubles, your woes to God and let Him handle them for you.
  • This too shall passnothing lasts forever, don’t get too caught up in your issues, they will not be with you forever.
  • Keep coming back….it works if you work itif you can do nothing more, then just keep showing up.
  • Stick with the winnershang with the folks who have been following the program and staying sober.
  • Sobriety is a journey….not a destination–there is no end-game.  I will be an alcoholic fighting to stay sober forever.
  • Faith without works is dead–you can be as spiritual as you want, but without practicing those same principles, it’s irrelevant.
  • If god seems far away, who moved?–a ponderance that makes you realize you need to get with God, or spirituality.
  • Turn it over–the main tenant of Step 3.  Turning my problems, issues, concerns, etc over to my Higher Power.
  • We are only as sick as our secrets–whatever you hold onto and don’t let go will keep you sick and/or in addiction.
  • There are no coincidences in AA–everything in A.A. happens for a reason, and that reason is God (Higher Power).
  • Be part of the solution, not the problem–stay out of your way as you seek the solution to your problem, or you will be the problem.

Please remember, my interpretations of these slogans may be different for you.  What effect, if any, do some of these slogans have on your life?  I have part two coming tomorrow.  I’d love to hear if you have any other AA slogans, and how they have applied to your own life and/or sobriety.

Retro Recovery: Those Emotions

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 01/15/2017 at 4:20 p.m. – Day 92 of Treatment
my_recovery

So here I am again, stuck talking about my emotions.  Lately, they have been negative.  I feel irritable, frustrated, anxiety-ridden.

I am getting tired of listening to some of these guys talk.  I know I should have patience and tolerance.  But lately I just don’t have it.

I also mentioned in another post that I started a grounds keeping job on Monday.  Well, apparently they don’t do much on the grounds:  they spend most of the time off the grounds and off their feet in front of the tv in the maintenance building.

This in and of itself is not what is bothering me.  What is bothering me is how am I going to kill 6.5 hours per day, 4 days a week, for the next two months?  I’m frustrated there is no leadership, and I’m aggravated that I am trying to take the next step in my recovery and it’s a sham.

feelings on justruminating men's blog

I also was just given 12 hours notice that the remainder of my meager belongings has to be removed from where they are tomorrow morning, or they will be thrown out.  Thanks for the heads up guys!

I’m far enough along in my recovery that I know I have to get my head right.  I know I should be doing something like meditation, reading, mindfulness, etc.  But all I want to do is walk around pissed off.  I have been this way for three days.  I know that I have to somehow get out of the funk.

Even putting more energy into this blog is not shaking me out of it.  Maybe I need to drop down on my knees and start praying.  Hell, I haven’t the stomach for that kind of reality right now, but I am willing to try anything.  At least I do know this much:  battling with my emotions can sometimes feel like all out war!  Drinking was a lot easier than this, I can tell you that!

emotions on justruminating men's blog

I have to keep reminding myself that these emotions will pass.  I have to keep reminding myself that I don’t have to be a prisoner to them.  That I need to acknowledge the emotion and move on, acknowledge the emotion and move on.  I can’t get bogged down with all these emotions.

I’m the master of my emotions, not the other way around.  If I continue to let these emotions master me, and to control my behavior, serious trouble will follow.  So tonight I will pray, and I will pray hard.  I need to regain my mastery of my emotions before I find myself in real trouble.

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!

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!

Retro Recovery: Pillars

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 04/12/2017 at 7:09 a.m. – Day 165 of Treatment
my_recovery

It’s hard to believe that I am celebrating my 11th month of sobriety!  I mean, in a way it is not, I have been doing the work and staying the course.

However, when I look back at where I was 11 months ago, trying to escape the grips of misery and hell, I could never imagined that my life would turn out so good!

I will be transitioning to a much more lenient Transition House on the 24th, about 2 hours away from this godforsaken city they call Brockton; the worse place I ever lived. The place of all my troubles.  Walking out of the VA everyday to go the store, I was constantly reminded of my old life.  No more, I will be in a remote part of the state, and I couldn’t be more thrilled.

I was reflecting recently on what has gotten me to this point in my Recovery.  And at this point it is Recovery.  To me, Sobriety is getting sober, Recovery is staying sober.  I have a very close friend who has done more for me in my Recovery than anyone.  You know who you are.

I may not have told you this.  I want you to know that your strength and determination in your own life are inspirational to me in my life!  I only hope that I can give you 1/10th of what you have given me!  I value your friendship tremendously, so thank you so very much for you!

I might have posted these things a bit back, but I wanted to share them with you again.  Because, for me, in addition to having someone truly special in my life, it really comes down to these 5 things:

Gratitude:  Being humble and grateful for what I have.  Not concentrating on what I do not have.  Being grateful for others and showing them gratitude for being in my life.

Acceptance:  Being at peace with how things are.  Being able to appreciate when I cannot control a particular situation.  More importantly, accepting those around me for who they are, and accepting myself; even if I falter, as long as I continue to try to be and do better.

Mindfulness:  Being aware of my emotions and controlling them.  Avoiding extreme highs or lows.  Being aware of the situations I find myself in and making good decisions.

Spirituality:  Still seeking my ultimate Higher Power, but at least seeking!  Right now I concentrate on meditating, to tap into my inner spirit.  I take walks to spend time with nature, the ultimate Higher Power.  I am reading books which are leading me deeper into the essence of life, of people, of myself.

Now:  Spending as much time in the present moment.  Avoiding a future that has not come, and a past that is no longer.  I sometimes visit them, for practical purposes, but work diligently to stay in the moment.  That is all I have, is Now, and I am doing the best I can not to waste it.  By doing this I remain calm and in control.

And that’s it!  I believe firmly that as long as I do what I can to remember these principles, I cannot fail.  I have had no desire to drink, no urge to drink.  I know what will happen if I drink.  It is no longer an option for me, it is no longer a part of my life!

There is hope for those of you still suffering, or for those of you who know someone who is suffering!  If I can do it for the first time in 35 years, I know in my heart that anyone can do it.  Goodbye to misery, and goodbye to hell!

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