How I use the Slogans…

On March 16th, 2015, posted in: recovery by

miracles

 

This Too Shall Pass

I definitely use this saying the most when I am stressed and anxious. I catch myself at least a dozen times a day needing to remind myself that what I am feeling is temporary, or remind myself that whatever I am going through – such as, running out of food and not being able to get to the grocery store right away; missing the bus; or simply feeing lonely and having the urge to isolate – can only last so long. This allows me the opportunity to change my reaction.

Don’t Give Up Before the Miracle Happens

I tend to get so fearful of the unknown I sabotage any chance of a potential miracle. When I feel uncomfortable or “pushed in a corner,” my reaction is to run and hide. But the times I have held on, despite wanting to run, I have gained strength, wisdom, and courage to overcome what I once thought was impossible. That, to me, is a miracle within itself.

Easy Does It

This slogan helps me slow down and trust my recovery process. I am so quick to spiral downward with self-pity, self-sabotage, and self-destruction of my recovery. Reminding myself “Easy Does It” allows me to be gentle with myself and my journey. This has helped me gain self-love and patience for my recovery process.

Feelings Are Not Facts

For years I believed that what I felt was reality. When I felt depressed, it was because I deserved it and was destined to live a depressed life. When I felt lonely and abandoned, my mind would automatically tell me that people hate being around me. Since learning that feelings are not facts, I am able to see how I can feel depressed, sad, lonely, or abandoned without there being a hidden agenda or motive created by God or people. By being able to separate my feelings from the reality of the current situation, I feel less paranoid and crazy.

                                                                                                –Anonymous

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Faith and Gratitude

On March 9th, 2015, posted in: recovery by

 gratitude

January 7, 1985, is a date that will be forever embedded in my memory.  Sitting in the emergency room of a hospital in the Bronx, New York, waiting to get into detox for the second time, I never imagined how my life would turn out.  I was hopeless, friendless, jobless, and penniless. I had the beginning of cirrhosis of the liver, high blood pressure, losing the last place I had to live, and I was suicidal.  I couldn’t imagine my life without alcohol and I was only 23.  My plan was to let the heat die down so that I could get back into my parents’ basement and figure out the rest of my life.  In detox, I begged them to send me to treatment and they did.

 

The first day that I walked into treatment was the day that I was also walking out, because I didn’t think that I was “that bad.” The staff there informed me that I was.  I didn’t want to talk while I was there because all I could think about was drinking.  Once they told me that it was okay to say that out loud, something began to change. The rest is history.

 

My life has never been as dark as those days.  I can only take credit for not having picked up the drink.  There are hundreds of men who made my recovery possible. They showed me tough love and basically carried me through. I was not pleasant to be around, as I was unhappy, negative and had a poor attitude. They put up with me anyway.  My first job in sobriety was driving a taxicab making five dollars an hour and I couldn’t see things getting any better, but they told me it would and they were right.

 

I developed close relationships to men in recovery and with a Higher Power that I never imagined possible. My connection to my Higher Power was, for awhile, adversarial and angry. Over the years it has become something that I can’t see myself living without. I learned about reliance as opposed to defiance, along with surrender and acceptance. The years seem to have flown by, and God has seen fit to bless me with gifts beyond my comprehension. I am filled with emotion as I write this and I am grateful. I continue to work on my recovery and try to help others in order to repay the debt that I owe to the men that made it happen, and to my Higher Power. Enjoy the journey!

                                                                                            — Danny

 

 

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goodbye

This is extremely difficult for me to do, but I have to let you go.  You have served me well for many, many years, or at least that was the lie that I told myself.  There was a time that you provided me with great solace, comfort and security.  When I believed that I had no one else to turn to, that nobody else was there for me, I could always count on you to be there for me.  You took away my pain and my sorrows, my fears and my insecurities, my guilt and my shame.  They all disappeared when your sick, sweet voice whispered in my ear, beckoning me to engage in the dance we did day in and day out.

At first I felt as if I could conquer the world as long as I had you by my side.  You became my secret lover, my constant companion and my new best friend.  Nobody could take you away from me, and I vowed to never let you go.  You consumed my every waking moment, my every thought.  As time passed, I began to feel numb and disconnected from the reality of my everyday life, the reality which I tried so desperately to escape.  When I wanted to run and hide, I could call on you to help me achieve that state of apathy, that state of complete numbness which I sought.  But eventually I always came back to the land of the living, and the sadness would return.  I would begin to feel again and I didn’t like this.  You see, you were no longer working for me.  No matter how hard I tried, your promised relief and instant gratification would evade me.  I became frustrated.  The cycle was vicious and I became sicker and sicker.  I was a shell of a person and I almost lost my life because of you.

I have no use for you any longer.  It is time for me to break free and be rid of you, once and for all.  Goodbye, old friend, goodbye.  I no longer choose you.  I choose recovery.

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How I Use The Slogans

On February 24th, 2015, posted in: recovery by

individual freedom

 

You Are Not Alone

When I am stressed, lonely, and feeling unique, like no one could possibly understand what I am going through, it helps me to remind myself that I am not alone.  I have God, my sponsor, my network of friends, family, and a treatment team.  So what I need to do is get down on my knees and pray or pick up the phone and call someone and ask for help.  I struggle with this almost daily, but when I do reach out and ask for help, I honestly do feel supported and connected with others.

 

One Meal At A Time

Meal planning for me can be one of the most overwhelming parts of my recovery at times.  While planning my meals for a day, I constantly have to take it one meal at a time.  This means that if I have to pack both lunch and dinner, I need to step back, remind myself to take it one meal at a time, and prepare the contents of lunch before moving on to the contents of dinner.  Since getting out of residential, this has helped me not get overwhelmed by having too much to prepare at once.

 

Just For Today

I often find myself focusing too much on the future instead of just getting through today.  Currently I am worried about how I am losing my health insurance at the end of this month, and next month when my parents cut off financial support for me how I am going to possibly be able to support myself.  But I have found that throughout the day, as thoughts like these come through my head, they are followed by “just for today.” I take this to mean that I just need to do what I can today to plan for tomorrow, such as job searching and applying for health insurance.  This lowers my stress level and allows me to be in the solution rather than stuck in the problem of self-pity.

 

                                                                      — Anonymous

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Dark Corners

On February 16th, 2015, posted in: recovery by

 
Enlightenment

 

 

The Dark Corners of my mind bring me

unwanted memories

 

Of dimly lit, smoke-filled rooms charged with

despair, remorse

Tall stools to sit on, amber liquid coiled in a glass

beautiful, deadly

There is no refuge here, only

danger, retreat

Avoiding the memories by sleep doesn’t work, they return

as nightmares.

 

A ray of light enters these dark corners to remind me that a

path exists.

A way out of the darkness into

the sunshine

To a place that offers a promise of peace for all,

including me

Where others remind me there is

always hope.

Today, I choose to follow

this path.

 

The Dark Corners of my mind remain, their power now

less defined.

 

                                                                                     Mike H.

 

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A Goodbye Letter to My Disease

On February 9th, 2015, posted in: recovery by

Freedom

 

I am writing this letter to tell you that I want nothing to do with you.  You have caused my family and me a tremendous amount of suffering for the last 10 to 15 years.  You have caused both my family and me to be in poor health physically, emotionally, and spiritually.  I have hated myself because of you and not felt love for anyone for a long time.  You are a contributing factor to my mom’s current illness.  You have taken everything I ever owned, including my dogs that I love more than anything.  You caused me to be completely selfish, self-centered and egotistical.  I literally did not care about anyone or anything, except getting high, because of you.  You tried to kill me and send me to prison, but God had a different plan for me.  You controlled my thoughts and actions and took away any power I had.  You took away my self-worth, respect and love.  You made me believe lies and deny the truth.  You took away my dignity and ability to care for people and things.  You have been in the driver seat, driving me down a dead end  road leading to death.  You caused me to lie, cheat and steal.  You cost me about $500,000.  You ruined every relationship I ever had, except my family who loves me unconditionally.  You even damaged my relationship with my family as well, although I will repair that over time.  You are such a scumbag.  You want to inflict as much pain, misery and death on everyone as possible.

I am done being dishonest, selfish and hateful.  I will live a life of honesty, respect and integrity and rely on God to help me.  I won’t allow you to control my thoughts and actions anymore.  I want nothing to do with you ever again.  Have a nice life.

           

 

 P.S.  We have a growing army of people that are learning how to defeat you and helping others to do the same.

                                                                                                Anonymous

 

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It's Not About The Grind

At the suggestion of my sponsor, I joined the same home group that he was a member of. I attended my first business meeting after the regular meeting was over. The Group Service Representative (GSR) asked for a volunteer to set up, make coffee and clean up before and after the meeting. I was surprised to see my sponsor raise his hand. He had 2 years clean and sober and was willing to come early and stay late to do service work. I was thinking what a nice guy he was. Then when he was called on, he said, “John Y will set up, make the coffee and clean up.” I was shocked and angry all at the same time. I told my sponsor I didn’t want to have to be early or stay late and I didn’t know how to make coffee. He asked me if I was serious about staying clean and sober; I answered yes. He then shook my hand and said, “Congratulations on doing service work; it will keep you clean.” He said he would teach me how to make coffee.

It became my job to get there early to set up, make coffee, put out ashtrays and the literature. What I learned is that the people who were serious about recovery seemed to be the same people who showed up early for the meeting and then stayed and helped clean up after the meeting. This is what I learned was the meeting before and after the meeting.  It’s also where I got to meet and spend time with the winners in recovery. We weren’t allowed to leave the group’s things at the meeting place; so each meeting I would load up the stuff, take it to the meeting and then bring it back home.

At around 6 months clean and sober, I decided that I didn’t want to do recovery anymore. Instead of going to the meeting, I was on my way to get some drugs when I turned the corner way too fast and the box with the meeting’s stuff went rolling across the backseat of the car. The coffee pot fell apart and the coffee can opened, coffee went everywhere.  When I pulled over to clean up the mess, I had what I know was a message from my HP.  Very clearly I thought: if I go use, who’s going to make the meeting’s coffee? Well, I decided to go to the meeting. I was a little late and my sponsor was waiting for me.  I told him my story. He just smiled and said, “I told you making coffee would keep you clean.”  He was right!!

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Words Have Power

On January 26th, 2015, posted in: recovery by

I decided that as part of my spiritual recovery I wanted to “clean up” my language. I profess to being a fan of the 4-letter word, as well as other colorful and versatile adjectives that I would not use in front of my mother. However, I believe that words have power and energy, and today what I want to manifest in my recovery is positive, loving energy. I also started recognizing that when I was frustrated and/or angry about something and would start spewing forth a string of “those colorful, yet negative” words, it just riled me up more, kept my frustration/anger going longer than it might have if I had chosen other language. This  makes sense to me because I’m just adding more negative energy to the stew. As one of the stories in the Big Book says, “What we focus on increases.”

So I decided to see if I could make it through one day without swearing. I told a friend of mine what I was going to try, and she related to me that her mother didn’t like to use “bad words,” so she would use the word “carrot” instead. Both of us thought that was funny. The next day I was in the kitchen trying to open a stubborn jar and getting very annoyed. I was mindful of wanting to choose different language to express my frustration, so I said, perhaps shouted, “Well, carrot!” And I started laughing. The frustration/anger left me.

I had thought it was going to be hard to refrain from using “those words,” especially the f-word, one of my favorites, a very user-friendly and versatile word, in my opinion. However, it has not been difficult at all. I have had very few slips and have been “clean” for over 5 months now. “Carrot” is now my go-to word, and I have found that I can be very creative with it, depending on my level of anger. There’s “son of a carrot, you freaking carrot, mother carrot,” and so forth. “Carrot” may not be quite as satisfying as the f-word , but it has something that I never found in my former language: humor. Saying “carrot” and all its variations takes the edge off, often makes me smile, and it definitely diminishes and shortens my reactiveness. These days, the worst thing to come out of my mouth is a carrot or two. It’s kinder to the Universe and kinder to me.

 

carrot

by Clara

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It’s That Time of Year

On December 29th, 2014, posted in: recovery by

As the new year approaches many people begin to think about making New Year’s resolutions. Some actually accomplish them. Most are neglected and forgotten by February. Here are some suggestions for success with your resolutions in 2015.

freedom

 

1. Define your goals. Be specific and make sure your goal is realistic.

2. Plan. What are the Physical preparations you need to make such as materials, equipment, or perhaps even a visit to your doctor? What are the Mental preparations needed? Who might support you emotionally? Are you honestly committed to this change? What are its potential benefits? And finally, what are the Spiritual preparations you need to make? Let your Higher Power in on what you’re doing! Visualize yourself achieving your goal. Write some affirmations that support success.

3.Keep track of your progress. Record it on a calendar. Keep a journal. And keep in mind that any change is process! There will be ups and downs. Getting off track temporarily does not mean failure, but perhaps you need to revise your plan. It’s all an opportunity to learn more about yourself… so take one day at a time… enjoy the ride.

by Debbie W

 

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It’s a little known fact that 10% of the toys made by Santa’s elves do not pass quality control inspection.  This is a story about one of those toys.

Timothy’s Train toy #MCH1385633762 came off the assembly line in June 1987.  He had a powerful looking black engine, a sleek yellow freight carrier, and study red caboose.  “I will make a great present for some lucky family,” though Tim.

Christmas Train

Although he felt good, Tim kept having problems during his evaluation by the quality control inspectors.  He kept turning right and running into things.  He ran over a Christmas tree, several of the other toys, and two very indignant elves.    “Sorry, Tim”  said the inspectors, “but you won’t be making the trip with Santa this year.  You have a problem—you can’t stay on track.”

And so, instead of going to Christmas Wrap and Shipping, Tim was sent to live with the other toys who had failed inspection.  He felt angry and lost.

After a while, Tim made friends with Kelly, a kite who string was too short, and Howard, a football whose laces kept coming untied.  They mostly sat around feeling sorry for themselves.

One day they were approached by one of Santa’s elves who suggested they attend a daily meeting held by a group of toys who had also failed to pass inspection.  “Why”, asked Tim, “What do they do?”  “Well”, the elf replied, “They talk about their problems and how they can overcome them.”  Tim decided to attend, while Kelly said she would think it over and Howard stated that it sounded like a waste of time.

Although he was scared and felt uncomfortable at first, Tim attended the meetings and felt a new sense of both hope and challenge.  Finally, he asked his new friends, “Can anyone help me get on track?”  He had many offers of help and encouragement.  Bill, a toy stethoscope, said to him “Tim, you tend to go to your right, you should do the opposite, go to your left.  This will straighten you out.”  Fearfully, Tim tried something totally new to him and after many attempts struggling to change, and a lot of encouragement from Bill and the others—He got it!  Tim could stay on track!  “Now What?” Tim asked Bill.  “You wait for the miracle,” Bill replied.

Tim faithfully attended his meetings and even began to help others.  Kelly finally started showing up but Tim never did see Howard again.  One night after his meeting, Tim was approached by the elf who had originally told him about the meetings.  “Yo, Tim,” he said, “The Man wants to see you.”  “Who?” asked Tim.  “The Man,”  the elf replied, “you know—Santa.”

The next morning Tim was shown into the Corporate Office, top floor, of Christmas, Inc.  Santa met him personally and congratulated him for getting on track.  “You will be riding with me on Christmas Eve,”  Santa said.  At first Tim was very excited and happy about the news but suddenly he became angry and confused.  “Wait, Santa,” he almost shouted, “ Why now?  Why couldn’t I go right away like most of the toys?”  “Why did I have to go through all the hard times of getting on track?”  “Why?”  “Why?”

“Tim,”  Santa said, “I have always had special plans for you.  That’s why your time here has been more difficult and more challenging than for the others.  You will be going to a very special family, not as what you were—a Christmas present—but for what you have become—a true gift.”

And so on Christmas—That special time of giving–Tim was connected to his family and brought a very special meaning to them all.

 

Happy Holidays to all of you who work each day to stay on track. 

Share your gift! — Mike

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