Tag Archives: Holidays

Recovery: You Can’t

Recovery: Sayings

Recovery: Formulas For Living In Recovery

Recovery: More Keys To My Recovery

Those of you who have been following me for awhile know about my 5 Pillars of Recovery. They are the principles that I established late in 2016, as I journeyed through inpatient treatment at the VA. The acronym for these pillars is S.N.A.G.M.

S.N.A.G.M. stands for Spirituality, Now, Acceptance, Gratitude, and Mindfulness. And it is these principles which have been instrumental in my recovery from alcohol and drugs. As strong as these principles are, they are not the only things I practice to stay sober. Those pillars hold up the structure of my recovery. I’ve also furnished the structure of my recovery with a variety of smaller practices which I employ on a daily basis.

keys to my recovery

I try to avoid boredom. There is a saying that “Idleness is the devil’s workshop.” And that is particularly true in my case. In the past boredom had always caused havoc and chaos. I would find the need to act on my impulses. I usually found myself taking to drinking heavily, and all bets were off for normalcy on those occasions.

So, I do not allowed myself to become bored, instead choosing to fill my day with a variety of activities. Raising my 11 month old daughter certainly keeps me busy. I also read. I watch shows with my wife during lunch. I fiddle around with my books. I do spend too much time on social media though; that’s something I have to avoid. Which leads me to another of my small practices:

avoid the rut

I try to stay out of a rut. For me, redundancy leads to boredom which leads to potential chaos and havoc. Sometimes I find myself too caught up in doing the same activities–like reading social media posts–to the point that I can get into a rut. That’s where discontent resides in me. My tougher days seem to be when I am not being creative enough with the use of my time.

I am merely wasting time doing mindless and trivial things. And doing too much of them. That’s when the “stinkin’ thinkin'”, so often spoken of at AA meetings, begins to take root. When I mix up my day with a variety of activities I’m not in my head. I am usually contented and doing enough different things that I avoid any kind of rut.

I don’t take on too much. Avoiding a rut doesn’t mean I should take on too much. In the past I was always overly ambitious and took on too many projects and responsibilities. And I usually would end up giving up and succumbing to my disease because of the stress involved with juggling too many things at once. It’s not just projects either; this aspect has to do with too many projects and/or too many places to go or too many obligations.

I avoid taking on too much so that I don’t become overwhelmed and stressed out. Two things that threaten my recovery. Essentially, I manage my days and nights much more effectively by breaking them down into chunks of time. Today, I can actually sit contented with not always having to do something or to be somewhere.

I don’t get too cocky. I don’t get too comfortable in my sobriety that is. Although the foundation of my recovery is strong, I am sure to avoid becoming complacent about it. I count each month I am sober. I take part in several recovery groups online. I blog here about my recovery. I carry recovery tokens in my pocket to remind me of where I am at in my recovery.

While I am not exactly hyper-vigilant, I am very aware that my dark passenger would like nothing better than to suck me into the world of my disease, in all of its forms. I am nearing 5 years in recovery, but I avoid being cocky about it. Because I know that the disease of alcoholism is cunning and sly; capable of jumping back into the driver’s seat of my life if I ever get too cocky and comfortable that I’ve “got it licked.”

So there you have it. A few more keys to my recovery. A few more things that I am actively doing to maintain my recovery and live a life worth living; without the chaos, drama, and perils of my disease running the show.

Recovery: Counting The Months

May be an image of text that says 'Months Clean'

I just passed the 57 month mark in recovery from alcoholism. Or as they call it nowadays Alcohol Use Disorder. I make a post every month with the number of months in my recovery. I intend to do so until I cannot count anymore.

Some folks don’t pay attention to their sobriety date. For them it is good enough knowing that they are still sober. I feel the need to celebrate my recovery every month. It keeps me mindful of just how little time I have in sobriety. I was an alcoholic for 36 years, so having 57 months clean is a short period of time relatively speaking.

Infinity Eternal AA Medallion Elegant Black Gold Alcoholics Anonymous Sobriety Chip Coin - RecoveryChip

I also buy myself a recovery medallion on the anniversary of my sobriety. Really nice ones. My 4 year medallion is pure silver. I carry them all in my pocket when I am out and about. I play with them sometimes. Especially if I am in a stressful situation. The sound of them jingling in my hand keeps me grounded. I want to always be mindful that I am still in recovery. And I don’t plan on having something blindside me into relapsing. By continually posting my recovery time I keep vigilant and watchful over my dark passenger.

If I learned anything at all during my treatment at various VA hospitals its this: most of my fellow Veterans ended up relapsing because of a false sense of security. They let their guards down. They took on too much in life and veered from being ever mindful that their disease could reel them in quickly and unremarkably. The lessons I learned in all those classes stick with me to this day.

Image result for relapse

As a result I am proud of the fact that I have not relapsed since my sobriety date of May 12, 2016. Trust me, there were more than a few occasions since that date that I could have picked up. I could have thrown away my recovery because I let my guard down. But I didn’t. I stayed the course and have 57 months unbroken pure recovery. I don’t buy into the shit concept that “Relapse is part of recovery.”

Relapse is a part of my disease. Recovery is part of my cure. I don’t have to keep falling to realize I’m not standing upright anymore. I will continue to post my sobriety months. I will continue to remain vigilant. I will keep an eye on my dark passenger and keep him well subdued. I can’t wait until my 60 month mark. I can’t wait to purchase a 5 year recovery medallion.

Maybe when I get to 36 years sobriety I will stop counting. At that point I would equal the time I was an alcoholic. Then again, I might not make it to 88. But I sure as hell will try.

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