Tag Archives: snagm

My Recovery:  53 Months Clean

When I started this blog in October of 2016, after a 5 month stay in jail, I had no inkling of where my sobriety would take me. Fast forward to My Recovery: 53 months, still clean and sober! See one of my earliest posts about self-condemnation, just 15 days into my treatment at the VA.

My Recovery 53 Months Clean

From October of 2016, until November of 2017, I learned about recovery through multiple VA treatment programs for Veterans. The principles I learned helped keep me strong, when I finally went back on my own. I even developed an acronym for the 5 pillars of my recovery.

The 5 Pillars of My Recovery

The acronym, S.N.A.G.M., stands for SPIRITUALITY, living in the NOW, ACCEPTANCE, GRATITUDE, and MINDFULNESS. I actually dedicated a blog page about S.N.A.G.M. here!

These 5 principles, along with the lessons I learned in therapy, courses like Dialectical Behavior Therapy and Cognitive Behavior Therapy, have served me well in my recovery journey; I have not relapsed once since I was basically forced into sobriety by jail, on May 12, 2016.

My Recovery:  52 Months Clean

 

When I started this blog in October of 2016, after a 5 month stay in jail, I had no inkling of where my sobriety would take me. Fast forward 52 months, and here I am, still clean and sober! This blog, up until now, chronicled my experiences in brutal and raw honesty.

From October of 2016, until November of 2017, I learned about recovery through multiple VA treatment programs for Veterans. The principles I learned helped keep me strong, when I finally went back on my own. I even developed an acronym for the 5 pillars of my recovery.

The acronym, S.N.A.G.M., stands for SPIRITUALITY, living in the NOW, ACCEPTANCE, GRATITUDE, and MINDFULNESS. These 5 principles, along with the lessons I learned in therapy, courses like Dialectical Behavior Therapy and Cognitive Behavior Therapy, have served me well in my recovery journey; I have not relapsed once since I was basically forced into sobriety by jail, on May 12, 2016.

Now, I want to take you dear readers on a different journey with me: in addition to the 5 principles that have kept me recovered, I have another 25 principles that I think are essential to living life wisely. In the coming months, I plan to draft an outline of a book I wish to write, tentatively titled Principles of Purpose: A Guide to Living Life Wisely. You will see the menu, and its subsequent posts, by clicking on Principles of Purpose.

Drawing from instances of my own life, I want to share these 30 principles with you. In essence, I first want to get you up to speed with the remarkable events of my life, since April of 2017-when I essentially stopped blogging-and then go back through my life, sharing with you how these principles could have-or did have-an effect on my life.

Much of my life has been shrouded in trauma, alcohol abuse, mental health issues, and self-destructive and poorly designed patterns of behavior. I intend on being brutally raw and truthful about, not only my life, but also about the decisions that shaped it.

I hope that you will join me in this new journey. I think the principles I am going to share are largely going to be obvious to most of you. But I also think that I will be able to illustrate, sometimes in dramatic fashion, how the application of these principles can prove exceptionally difficult, especially if childhood was particularly horrible.

In the telling of my journey, I hope that I am able to impart to you, some of the wisdom I have gained in my 56 years. I hope that I am able to help you avoid mistakes I have made, learn how to improve the quality of your life, gain perspective on how to overcome traumas through self_care, and come away from the experience a little better off than when you started.

Until then…

My Recovery: How I Don’t Drink

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With just over 14 months sober, I can honestly tell you life as I used to know it is dead and buried. Goodbye chaos. Goodbye troubles.  Goodbye anxiety, exhaustion, worry. I know have peace of mind in my life.  I can now approach difficult situations with a level head.  I don’t get too up or too down.

I have a pause button–fuck I could have used that 36 years ago.  So how did I do it? Why was it fairly easy for me to turn my back on booze and walk into “normalcy?”  I am so glad you asked!  I thought I would list five tips that have been highly effective in maintaining my recovery.

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Control Those Emotions–When  you are able to keep your emotions in check, the likelihood of you wanting to go out and bash your head into a bottle of vodka are slim. Never getting too up, or too down, an even-keeled approach to life keeps you stable and in control.

Nip It In The Bud–Life is going to deal you hand after shitty hand.  If one of them gets out of control–resentments, problem with another human, depression, anxiety over a topic–nip it in the bud!  Confront situations causing  you instability and deal with it, asap!  Burying emotions or situations is going to cause you problems as issues and situations build up.

Find What Works and Work It–Are 12 step meetings your thing?  Perhaps your religion? How about meditation, reading, writing, singing, dancing, walking, hiking…you get the idea.  Find what works for you and keeps you in that happy place and work it!  Do it, and I mean frequently! Don’t go overboard, of course, but do the activities that give you pleasure, keep you grounded.

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Meditate, Meditate, MeditateDid I mention MEDITATE?  I am guilty of not doing this as much as I should.  But I will tell you, the benefits of meditation are so numerous, I am surprised it is not practiced in every school in this country.

Start off with just 5 minutes a day, then build up to over 30 minutes.  You will thank me a thousand times over.

One Day At A Time–12 Step meetings may not be my thing, but boy are their slogans dead on!  Yes, living each day for itself will keep you from biting off more than you can chew.  It will keep you from languishing in the past, and worrying about the future.  We only have today, embrace it and stay sober.  JUST FOR TODAY.  Want more great slogans?  GO HERE!  AND HERE!

Well, there you have it.  There have been other things that have helped me stay sober, but these five principles have been my bedrock.  They have been my go to ways of living and today I can honestly use the word happy in my vocabulary.  What has kept you in recovery?

My Recovery: It Is Possible

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Today I celebrate one year in recovery!  One year ago today I walked into probation to do my weekly check in. That day the officer did not say “See you next week.”

No, she said “We have a problem.” My ex accomplished her mission; get me into jail.  I spent 5 months there, contemplating drinking finally without her madness.

Then I decided I would transition to a VA Treatment Program. I finally realized I could never pick up again.  That drinking had ruined my life and would continue to do so unless I stopped.

I spent two months at that program. I began to confront my emotions. I began to learn about mindfulness, gratitude, acceptance, spirituality.  I began to write this blog, I began to meditate.

It wasn’t always easy. I looked around me at Vets would seemed to brag about relapsing over and over again. They would compare the number of times they had been to detox.

Not all of them, of course, but many. I judged them at first. Then I learned from them and took to heart the reasons for relapse. I dealt with life on life’s terms. I went to AA a few times, but for me my Recovery would become a private affair.

I then transitioned to a more lenient VA program. I remained there for 3 months. During that time I learned more how to manage my emotions. I learned that drinking really wasn’t my problem; it was how I managed all my pain and emotions that was.

I learned, through my work with paralyzed vets, gratitude and service to others. Those vets helped me to come out of my shell a little. I learned how to live in the NOW, after reading The Power Of Now by Echart Tolle.  I continued to practice meditation, which truly helped keep me centered and focused. But living life on life terms really helped me deal with all the hiccups in life.

Still homeless I chose to transition to something similar to a sober house, where I am today.

I have a decent job, a decent place to live, and for once in my life I have dreams and goals.

Many of you know I do not really have anyone in my life. I have a father who I have called once when I first left jail, and I have an elderly Aunt that I do talk to once in awhile. You also know I am not very adept at making friends, but here at my new place I am making strides.

That being said sometime towards the end of February I met a woman who would become my best friend and one true love. I have not disclosed who this is because she is a member of our community and her privacy is very important to me.  I will if she tells me she is comfortable with that.

Anyway, this woman has taught me what it means to be a true friend. She has been so supportive of me that I actually feel like I am finally home; that I can be my true self!  She has been there for me thorough everything. Even though she is dealing with her own life, she has proven herself to be an incredible friend.  She is a huge part of my recovery; of my growth and maturity.

Over time we have developed a bond I cannot even describe. I want to avoid cliches!  We have a life plan, she is my friend. She is my partner in life. She is everything I have ever desired in a person, let alone a woman.  Everyday I feel lucky, so very lucky to have her in my life.  And I am deeply in love with her!  Trust me when I say that I never knew what love was until her!

Today I celebrate one year of recovery.  It can be done!  This is my first effort in 36 years to recover!  With a deep commitment to yourself and survival you can do it!  If you know anyone who is suffering, please, share my story. Perhaps it might help them.

And finally, I want to thank you, all my dear members of this community who have shown me love and support. I just want you to know you have also helped me, more than you know. Thank you so very much!

My Recovery: Pity Party Closed Down

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So, I’ve recovered from my pity party of last week, see I’m Still Sober, Barely.  And now I am finally back to vigilant about the principles that have kept me in Recovery for nearly a year: Acceptance, Gratitude, Now, Spirituality, Mindfulness.

I was transferred from the kitchen to babysitting the gym, but I also have a half-time position working with retired Vets in the retirement facility, which is great!

I also bought a mountain bike, which was one of my goals.  Let me tell you, riding it from the store just about a mile and a half was killer!  Those guys cruising all around here make it look easy, lol.  I am definitely going to have to build up my stamina before I go and ride to work 4 miles each way.

I went to my first local NA meeting with another member who lives in one of the apartments in the building.  He seems like a nice guy.  We went out to dinner after the meeting with a bunch of folks; some of whom were quite, uhm, colorful.  I will be attending another meeting this evening.

I also applied for a full-time position at the VA.  It is in the kitchen doing prep work. While it is certainly not my dream job, It would at least get my foot in the door and allow me to transfer to any VA in the country.  Because folks, I am so ready to leave the state of Massachusetts; you’ve no idea!

I probably will never like the shitty view from my front porch, but overall the house is fine, my room is large and quiet.  So am more than satisfied with my living conditions as they stand.

For once in my life I have some goals I want to achieve.  I am proud of the fact that is has taken me less than two weeks to achieve some of the goals I set.  Some of my larger, more long term goals, will obviously take more time and determination.

And finally I have been blessed with the best friend anyone could ever hope for.  She has been with me through thick and thin.  I have developed incredibly powerful feelings for this woman.  I feel quite sure that we will end up living a life of true happiness together!  She has taught me how to be a very good friend.

That may sound silly to some of you, but those of you who have been with me since last October, know that this is a very big step in my Recovery.

So, back on track.  Living life.  Doing the right things.  Walking hand in hand with the best human I’ve ever known.  Ya, life isn’t so shabby today.

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