The Pizza Box by Clara W.

in: recovery

DSC_1889When I went through treatment for my food addiction 25 years ago, I was told that during my abstinent years ahead I would have times when I experience “euphoric recall,” thinking about all those foods that I used to binge on and how yummy and soothing they were.  These thoughts would likely trigger cravings and could lead me down a slippery slope.  I was told that whenever I started to experience euphoric recall, I needed to immediately go into what they called “unmanageability recall.”  I need to come up with an experience or situation I had while I was in my disease that caused me intense shame and self-loathing.  This would be my unmanageability recall.  They told me to decide at that time, during treatment, what that memory will be, so that I’ll have it ready when I need it.  Well, I didn’t have to think long or hard to find the perfect one.

When I was 22 and newly married, long before recovery, my husband David and I only had one car.  (I should say my “former” husband – our marriage never had a chance since there were 3 of us in it:  David, myself and my disease.)  I wasn’t working, so I would take him to work in the morning and pick him up after work.  Most mornings, after dropping him off, I would stop at my favorite pizza place and take out a large pizza which I would devour once I got home.   Of course I couldn’t put the empty pizza box in our trash can because David might see it and wonder who ate that entire pizza.  Did I mention I was a closet food addict?  In my disease, I was constantly eating, but my usual snack food wrappers were easier to hide or dispose of.

We lived in a townhouse complex and there was a big public trash bin only a few yards from our door, but to take the box outside would require me to walk outside.  (Did I mention that laziness was a major character defect?)  So I decided that I would hide the box now and take it outside tomorrow.  (Did I mention I also have a problem with procrastination?)  Now where am I going to hide a large pizza box?  Our townhouse had a guest bedroom upstairs that we never went into.  The bed had a dust ruffle, so even if you went into the room, you couldn’t see anything that was under the bed.  I decided to put the box under there for that night.  Of course the next day, after devouring another pizza, I had the same thought as yesterday:  I’ll hide the new box and take them both outside tomorrow.

About 6 weeks later, I’m sitting downstairs watching TV and David is upstairs, when I hear him start screaming.  I run upstairs and he’s in the guest bedroom, on his knees, pulling pizza boxes out from under the bed.  What in the world he was doing in the guest bedroom, let alone on his knees looking under the bed, I’ll never know, but there he was flinging box after box out from under the bed and looking up at me like I was an alien from outer space.  All told, there ended up being 35 pizza boxes under there.  You might be able to imagine the intense shame I felt, especially seeing the look of horror and disgust in his eyes.  What possible explanation could I give?  I’d never heard of food addiction at that point in my life, so I couldn’t even throw that out to him.

Once I got into recovery, whenever I’d think of how good something might taste, all I have to do is remember my pizza box experience and all those old feelings of shame and disgust and self-loathing return and those “romancing food thoughts” disappear pretty quickly.

I’m very grateful for my 25+ years of abstinence and my 12-Step recovery.  Abstinence is the most important thing in my life, without exception, because I know that if I don’t keep taking it seriously, I’m just another pizza box waiting to happen.

I’m fine by John B.

in: recovery

So, OK, I admit it…..occasionally, I like to wear a nice red bloody wound!

See, I was taught by my parents in subtle ways to pretend everything is OK, even though it’s not, and this has been extremely difficult training to break.   Of course, when I do break it, it can lead to a “recovery moment” or new awareness.

I used to think I wasn’t doing it right – recovery, I mean – what with everyone in meetings living lives that were “beyond their wildest dreams,” and all. That’s a pretty big expectation.  And even though I have been sober for a really long while now, and even though I go to meetings on a fairly regular basis, every once in a while I have a bad day.  Oh, yeah, and my life is usually anything but “beyond my wildest dreams,” thank you very much!

But why I don’t actually seek out these growth episodes is beyond me.  Growth usually feels really good when it happens, and isn’t that what I was after OUT THERE?  To feel good, with no DOWNSIDE?  I mean, THAT’S the Holy Grail…..

But I resist, and so I wear the wound around for as long as I can stand it.  And then, just when I can’t do it anymore, I go ahead and take a chance and “reach out” and call my sponsor, or go to a meeting, raise my hand and come clean.  And sometimes a miracle happens.  My life gets better!  And even YOU get better!

I may just try it today, and of course I will keep you posted.

I’ll see ya around!  Hey, you can’t miss me…..!

 

Don’t you know who I am? by Erinne L.

in: recovery

I had heard in meetings that ‘recovery ruined my drinking’, but how, I didn’t quite know. I had to do the research, and my findings confirmed that little nugget of information. I was sober a few years, playing with the program like it was my own little set of Legos. I made up my own colorful little steps, which appeared quite sturdy until they melted when heat was turned up.

I did not plan on getting drunk. In fact, my plan was to drink diet sodas all evening on a blind date in a nice little restaurant with an even nicer large bar. No problem! I had not been to meetings in months, did not have a sponsor since my relocation 6 months earlier (my Legos were sponsoring me), and life was going along just FINE. In fact, I was not drinking, and things had started to go so well, I figured I never really even had a problem. The people who said they went out for more research always said things like, “a belly full of beer and a head full of recovery,” never sunk in at all. WHY would you be thinking about meetings and slogans if you were having a great time partying, I thought? I still knew all those sayings, but that evening, though they were probably somewhere in my head, I had moved them to the section marked “returns’.

After a few glasses of soda, my date, who knew nothing more than that I “did not really drink,” said, “Are you sure you don’t want a glass of wine with me?” He had already had a few and seemed perfectly fine. Without any pause, any thought, any neon sign flashing WARNING! or any of those supposed ‘tapes’ playing, the only logical answer, and the one that instantly came out of my mouth was “Sure, why not?” The night went great. I rode off in the moonlight with a complete stranger, dabbled in some dry goods after a quick stop in a sketchy neighborhood to see his ‘friend’… sprinkled the midnight hour with many more drinks, drove home trashed, and….NOTHING BAD HAPPENED. Aha! I was fine after all.

Free and clear to drink normally again, you crazy freaks! I laughed.

That went very well. The date never called me back, but he was a total jerk anyhow, I reasoned. On to the next Internet match! 9 days later, I fell in love with a wonderful guy rebounding from the love of his life. We were meant-to-be because he loved to drink and so did I. 6 weeks later he let me down gently to get back with his ex…and me to cling even more fervently to my bottles. Still, I heard no voices in my head chattering about the “definition of insanity,’ no moments of clarity saying it would only get worse. My Legos even made nice coasters!

Then it happened. 122 days after that first night of research, I found myself alone at a bar, gathering an army of fun strangers to lift my spirits. Before I knew it, I was living the dream…riding in the back of a slick black and white limo across the sparkling late night waters beneath the Bayside Bridge. My sharply dressed chauffeur was taking me to a swanky hotel on Forty-Ninth Street. My silver bracelets looked stunning as I entered the lobby to check in. I sat waiting for the concierge to snap my photo for the membership ID, and watched the lively crowd of colorful guests swirl around me. This place was really popular, so I had to wait a while. I asked the bellman where the powder room was — after all, I had to look good for my ID photo.

I was taken aback that the bellman was so rude to me when I inquired where the ladies room was located. I felt this was quite unnecessary, and asserted myself proudly. Finally! I recalled a phrase I had heard in meetings, and loudly announced while standing up, “DON’T YOU KNOW WHO I AM?”

He obviously did not. In fact, he had the audacity to tell me he did not care WHO I was and to sit down and shut up! My dream evening was quickly being ruined by his complete disregard for my presence, and that phrase I had heard in meetings. I reported this to the manager promptly, who was kind enough to compensate me with a really boho chic white rubber robe and an escort to the ‘Maximum Suite’ — a private room for no extra charge.

I stayed there all weekend, and as it turned out, the plumbing was terrible, and there was an obvious need for a new chef. My private room was far too cold, and the staff was not very friendly. I did not sleep well, either — the bed felt like concrete. I was awakened that first morning, startled by the paper-thin walls…oh the noise in that place! To top it all off, I could clearly hear a woman’s voice from a few doors down reciting words I had heard before…something about, “Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path…”  WOW…. What a buzz kill she was!

My second day there I was finally able to voice my complaints to the Bigwig, and despite his fancy robe and expensive watch flashing over the video monitor, he did not seem to care or attempt to address my issues with this place. Disbelief!

I checked out later that day, and thought about how those recovery people and their lines and phrases really DID ruin my party weekend. I figured I had better get back there to those meetings and inform them that I would not be taken down by this nonsense. I may as well warn them about this nasty hotel while I was there, too.

Oddly, they understood my warnings and criticisms, and even told me to keep coming back. Dang, another silly slogan, I thought. But I did go back, mostly because that crazy Bigwig made me do it.

It took a little time, but I realized I was in the right place. I threw out my Legos and found a real sponsor. I have been building a foundation to a beautiful new home, complete with meetings, my sponsor, service work, reading and learning, helping others, and finding a Higher Power. There are the slogans and sayings, too, which no longer ruin my drinking… I don’t drink. Those sayings and slogans, in fact, support my recovery. Finally! –They know who I am…just another garden variety drunk, staying sober one day at a time.

 

The Diving Stand by Mike H.

in: recovery

“I need to concentrate not so much on what needs to be changed in the world as much as on what needs to be changed in me and in my attitude.”

—From the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous

 

While planning the family vacation several years ago, I decided to return to the lake where I have spent my summers as a young boy.  This would be a prolonged stay and allow my grandchildren the opportunity to enjoy what I remembered as the best time of my life.

This would be a driving vacation, and as our journey began, I had high expectations making the 2-day trip quite tolerable.  I admitted, however, that I wasn’t looking forward to the drive back since return trips are always a chore.  No expectations there, I explained.

We arrived on schedule and began to explore a place I didn’t recognize.  The lake of my boyhood no longer existed.  The cottages were no longer that—they were summer homes with carpeting and televisions.  Gone were the basic box homes with linoleum covered floors for wet swimsuit traffic and a game room where Monopoly was played on rainy days.

The lily pads off the point where I had hunted turtles had been dredged to build piers for the homes now lining the shore.  The sandbar I had swam on and had fished for yellow perch had a channel cut through it for boats I deemed too large and too fast for the lake.  The absence of fisherman on the lake proved that.  But worst of all—the diving stand was gone.

The diving stand, with all its ladders, spring board and high dive was the meeting place for every kid who lived on the northeast shore of the lake.  “Meet you at the stand,” was perhaps the most common exchange between us.  All kids who swam out to the stand became part of the hierarchy determined not by age, but by ability.  This position was determined through a daily game of Follow-The-Leader where everyone had to duplicate the jump, dive, or swimming feat the one before them performed.  I was the undisputed champ at this for most of my summers.

I would lead off with easy stunts to let the little kids have a chance, but when things got serious, I took out my competition with the “frog dive.”  This was performed by springing high in the air off the board, pulling your feet up under you while turning out your knees and with your elbows extended, holding your hands together on your chest.  This caused you to take the full impact of the water on your head.  Those who could get in position usually chickened out at the end, throwing out their hands to break the splash.  When on of my cousins finally perfected the dive, I started doing it from the high dive……..but there would be no more Follow-The-Leader, the diving stand was history.

I spent my vacation complaining about how things had changed and spent hours by myself lamenting my losses.  It didn’t matter that there was a new diving stand, it was in a different place and it didn’t have a high dive!  I was so busy feeling sorry for myself that I failed to see and hear the excitement and joy of my grandchildren as they discovered the lake in their time, on their terms.

Finally, it was time to leave.  Everyone had gotten on the road and we would leave on Saturday morning for the drive back.  That evening I felt lost and discouraged.  “What is missing?” I asked as I went to bed.  “Help me,” I prayed as I drifted off to sleep.

We were up and ready to go by early morning.  I decided to take one last look at the lake and carefully walked on the pier, wet and slippery with the morning dew.  It was perfectly still at that early hour and since no wind had come up, the lake was like glass, reflecting the images of all that it saw.  Something seemed different.  As I looked around the lake, I thought I could see the lily pads at the point, and the colors of the sandbar.  I sensed the presence of fishermen on the lake.  My gaze turned to the north and there I saw—the diving stand.  Just like I remembered it; the blue spring board and the silver high dive outlined against the shoreline.  Standing on the high dive was a young boy who looked strangely familiar.  The summer sun had tanned his skin and bleached his hair almost white.  A baggy pair of swim trunks hung precariously on his narrow hips.  He was laughing and waving at me.

As I waved back I felt something deep inside me awaken as I realized what had been missing.  I discovered that part of recovery that lies just beyond the edge of acceptance—and as my tears finally fell, I reclaimed the joys of my time at the lake, the ones I had buried under anger and resentments from another time.

The boy waved a final time as I silently acknowledged my thanks.  “Meet you at the stand,” he seemed to say and as the vision faded, he turned and did a frog dive into the lake.

During the trip home, I never once checked to see if we were making good time.  I simply enjoyed the journey.

 

 

 

The GR8 and powerful by John B.

in: recovery

Of late, I have begun to suspect that something isn’t right with me.  Certainly, the fact that I have been living life on a basis of “unsatisfied demands” for the past 60+ years or so is undeniable.  I have never really cared for the way the universe works, you know?  I mean, why do I have to go to work every day and be respectful to idiots, and be responsible, honest and open-minded?  Nobody else does!

I hereby demand that life be on MY terms, not life’s!

Oh, yes.  And another issue I struggle with is that, unless I am engaged in doing something constructive, my tendency is to gravitate toward negativity.  The problem here is that I don’t usually wake up eager to actually DO something constructive.

And God help me if I have some “free time” on my hands.  Like when I am driving or just sitting at my desk at work.  My busy little beaver brain can conjure up some fantastic scenarios, none of which have a positive outcome…  Come to think of it, I can’t really explain why it is that I am not a “Doomsday Prepper.”

When this childish grandiosity strikes, when my anxiety peaks, my character defects tend to spew out all over the place, and make a mess!  The worst part is that they never clean up after themselves – oh, no,  I have to do it.

It doesn’t help that one of my very favorite things to do with my free time is read the news.  I especially LOVE the editorials!  You know, the ones that expose the many evil-doers, vile and corrupt individuals and the greedy corporations and institutions with which the world abounds.  Bastards!

All this mental activity begets negativity.  “Nattering Nabobs of Negativity,” as Spiro Agnew put it (look it up in Wiki).  There is one, and only one, antidote; and it goes against every instinct and desire I have.  And it’s always the LAST thing I want to do!  (Told you already, I don’t CARE for the way the universe WORKS!)

The solution to my madness in the past has been MEDICATION, in whatever form is handy.  Which, these days, is usually sugar — or adrenaline.  Flipping the finger to someone you don’t know in traffic, who may be armed, will give a nice jolt!

Doesn’t really work anymore, though.  Damn Universe and its random rules!  Then again, MY solutions are what caused to me to end up in AA in the first place, aren’t they?  Yes, the answer is to go to a meeting….again.
BCNU…
42

 

 

 

Things are not always what they seem by John Y.

in: recovery

I recently went to a meeting I don’t regularly attend.  This particular meeting isn’t very close to my house and it is in a pretty rough neighborhood. The meeting turned out to be pretty good and afterward I hung out at the meeting after the meeting to talk with some of my friends.

As I was walking to my car to leave I noticed a guy walking toward me wearing a hoodie and his pants hanging down around his hips.  My first thought was “Oh no, this isn’t going to be good.” The guy walked up to me and said “Yo Dog, I liked what you dropped in there can I get your 411,” and he proceeded to pull out his cell phone. Meanwhile, a friend of mine that had also been in the meeting walked up and overheard the conversation.  I must have looked confused to my friend because he looked at the guy and then back at me and said he said “He liked what you shared and was hoping to get your phone number.”

I was once again reminded that you can’t judge a book by its cover. I gave the guy my phone number, thanked him and went home feeling humbled by the experience.

 

Misery Factory by John B.

in: recovery

“Therefore avoid the deliberate manufacture of misery.”  –Alcoholics Anonymous

I spend a lot of time wondering what might be wrong with me.  You see, I am almost never happy.  And I don’t mean happy as in a good mood, because I’m in a good mood. Alright?

No, I mean happy as in satisfied, contented, fulfilled.  And, yes, I get it….no one promised that I would be any of those things.  Rather, it is my seeming inability to achieve them myself that I worry about.  For instance, every job I have ever had has ended up being boring, with a capital “B.”  And I mean boring as in having nothing to do.  Nothing to do except think, that is.

So, I sit there and make my own misery.  It’s pretty easy to make, too.  Here’s how:

First, begin by making up stories about your life.  But they have to be negative!  For example,  “You should have gone to school and gotten some sort of degree,” or “Why can’t you ever seem to make the right choices in life?” or “No one likes you (a particular favorite of mine!),” etc, etc.

Then look at other people around you and make up some random stuff about them and their lives.  For instance, “So-and-so is always doing so well; I’ll bet they’re happy about their lives!” or “Everyone around you makes more money than you do,” or “Everyone around you is smarter than you are,” etc, etc.

And feel free to go on ad infinitum, which, by the way, is Latin for “until you feel like throwing up.”

If you are any good at this, before you know it, you will mistake “beliefs” for “reality.”  Then the fun really begins!  In no time you too can start to feel sad, depressed, fearful, and less than!   And it can go on for days.

For me, it’s the signal that tells me that my disease — dis ease — has won this round.

Damn you, “isms”!

What I could do in this situation is to change course and change my thinking.  I could call my sponsor or someone in recovery, or go to a meeting, write, pray, be grateful….or JUST STOP DOING IT.

But do I?  NAH!

Sometimes I am afraid to tell the truth about myself.  Or worse, I deny what I am thinking (which sounds pretty weird).  But, just like a software program quietly running in the background, subtle and powerful, my disease never sleeps.

The good news, as always, is that there is an “app” for that!  It’s called “HEY DUMMY, GO TO A MEETING“.

Go ahead and try it sometime.  You never know….it could just work!

The Paperboy by Mike H.

in: recovery

Humility helps us to be teachable and flexible. To continue growing and avoid relapse, humility must be constantly maintained from King Baby written by Tom Cunningham.

“You want me to do what?”  Mark almost screamed at his sponsor.    “I want you to take over a paper route.  It is all arranged.  You start tomorrow night.   Remember, Mark, you promised to anything I asked when I agreed to sponsor you.”   “Yeah, but a paper route?  How will that help me?”  Mark asked.    “Hopefully, you will figure that out,” his sponsor replied, “The job is about more than just delivering newspapers.”

Mark reported to the substation as directed and introduced himself to the district supervisor.  After completing his paperwork Mark was introduced to the business of news delivery:  At work by 1:00 a.m. to pick up all paper sections and bring to workstation by 1:30 a.m.;  Collate sections, fold and insert in plastic bags;  Load car;  Leave by 3:00 a.m.;  Complete the route by 7:00 a.m.

His supervisor said, “I’ll ride with you tonight and tomorrow, then you are on your own.”  He hooked a flip-card file over the rearview mirror in Marks car.  “These cards have the addresses of each stop and are in order.  Just follow the cards, your route is mostly businesses and apartments so there won’t be a lot of driving.”

Mark had envisioned driving along throwing newspapers out of the car window onto driveways like he had seen in the movies.  “Not on this route,” explained his boss, “Some of these condos go up ten stories-you have to cover all the floors.  Park the car, fill your carry bag, and cover the building.”   After his third night, which he didn’t finish until almost 9:00 a.m. and prompted several irate phone calls from subscribers to the office, Mark was ready to quit.  He called his sponsor but was reminded of his commitment.  And so, he kept at it and after several weeks he was completing the route on time and without hardly looking at the cards.  He began to figure out shortcuts and ways to save time.

At the very end of the run was an old motel that had been converted to condominiums.  There were 24 units all on the ground floor and Mark could deliver his eleven customers by throwing out the car window.  Easy!  One night as he drove slowly through the lot he heard a voice, “Paperboy.”  Mark kept going.  “Paperboy!” he heard the voice again much louder.  Mark stopped and looked behind him. An old woman stood outside the door to number eighteen looking at Mark.  “You, paperboy,” she said, “over here.”  Mark flushed with anger at being addressed like that.  “Who in the hell did this old biddy think she was talking to?  Paperboy! I am forty-eight years old,”  he thought.  Mark approached her and realized it must be a customer.  “Yes,” he said.  The woman replied, “I want you to place my paper on this chair by my door.  I have trouble bending over to pick it up.”  Mark swore under his breath and said to himself, “I would like to tell you where you can put your paper.”  But he checked his anger and replied, “Yes, certainly.”  He drove away muttering to himself about the extra work and the time lost because of the old lady.  He was particularly upset because he felt chastised at being called a paperboy.

Mark continued to work the route as the summer turned to fall.  He was introduced to another responsibility of the route, which was to collect past due accounts.  He didn’t have many but once a month he would have to go out on the weekend, during the day, to collect monies due.  One day he found himself in front of number eighteen, Sunrise Condominiums.  “Oh great,” thought Mark, “my favorite, the chair lady.”  Mark rang the bell holding in his hand a bill which said Steiner, $14.60 past due.

This was the first time Mark had ever seen the building in the daylight and he noticed how rundown it looked.  He knocked on the screen door, which was in need of paint and a new screen. The elderly woman appeared at the door clutching a tattered bathrobe to her chest.  “Yes,” she asked.  “I’m from the Times,” Mark replied, “your bill is past due.”  “Oh, my,” the woman said as Mark handed her the bill, “let me get my checkbook.”  She returned quickly and began to write but stopped with a look of alarm.  “There is a problem–,” she began, looking fearful.  “Look, maam,” said Mark, “Why don’t you just keep the bill and mail it in when you get a chance.”   “No, no,” the woman replied, “you just wait.  I will take care of this.  I have to have my paper, it is all I have in the morning.”  She went back inside while Mark waited.  After a few minutes he began to pace up and down.  He looked through the kitchen window and saw the old woman seated at a kitchen table covered with coins.  She was counting out her bill.  Mark saw how barren the condo looked;  the holes in the linoleum floor, and noticed the only food inside was a small can of tuna fish and some individually wrapped saltine crackers.  As the old woman started to get up, Mark walked quickly back to her door and was waiting when she handed him a heavy bag.  “I hope you don’t mind taking some change, I just needed to get rid of it,” she said.  “No problem Mrs. Steiner,” replied Mark.  As he drove away, her words echoed in his head, “it is all I have in the morning.”

Finally it was December and Mark’s job of delivering newspaper was nearing completion.  Toward the end of his run one night he heard a familiar voice, “paperboy, over here.”  Mark walked up to number eighteen and was handed an envelope.  “Thanks Mrs. S” Mark said and went on his way.  “Well, I won’t have to go out and collect that account,” Mark thought.

That Saturday morning Mark was cleaning off the top of his dresser as usual when he noticed the envelope.  “Darn,” Mark thought, “I forgot to turn in that payment.”  He opened the envelope but saw it didn’t contain a payment–it contained a Christmas card.  On the cover it said “Seasons Greetings.”  Mark opened it and written in the shaky scrawl of an older person was a personal note, “Thank you for your prompt and courteous service. Mildred Steiner.”  Enclosed was a $5.00 bill.  As Mark stared at the money, visions of tuna fish, a worn kitchen floor, and coins on a table flashed through his mind.  Tears welled up in his eyes and from deep inside his chest a sob escaped.  As if from a great distance, he heard his sponsor’s voice saying “The job is about more than delivering newspapers.”

Epilogue:  The two young men ran to their car eager to get to a restaurant and get something to eat.  “Pretty good meeting tonight, huh,” said the first one.  “I liked that story the guy told about delivering newspapers, but I am not sure if I understood what he meant at the end when he said he hadn’t delivered for years but he was still on the route.”  His friend replied, “I think I know what he meant.  When they passed the coffee can, I saw him put $5.00 in it.”  “I invited him for coffee, but he said there was something he needed to do.”

Mark drove slowly down the street trying to find a street sign.  He glanced at the open newspaper lying on the seat next to him to check the address he was looking for.  As he looked at the article he thought to himself, “there is no such thing as coincidence.  I was meant to see this notice in the paper today.”  Mark finally found the address he was looking for and pulled into the parking lot.

He entered the building and a man in a black suit rose to greet him.  “May I help you,” he asked.  “Steiner,” replied Mark.  “Ah, yes, parlor three.  That’s all the way down the hall to your right.”  Mark signed the guest book and walked inside the room.  A small group of people looked up at him expectantly.  One woman came forward with her hand outstretched.  “Welcome,”  she said, “are you a relative?”  “No, no maam,” I am not a relative.  “Oh, Well how did you know Mildred?”  Mark hesitated slightly, as a warmth filled his chest.  He smiled and said, “Well, um, you see…..I was her paperboy.”

The 4th Dimension by John B.

in: recovery

My first day in treatment I was given a Big Book and a 12 & 12 for my reading enjoyment.  It was extremely difficult for me to read, though, as there seemed to be a Category 5 hurricane blowing full force inside my brain.  However, the fact that I was unable to sleep gave me plenty of time to re-read the same paragraph over and over again until I grasped enough of its meaning to go on to the next.

I progressed through the book in this fashion and, after a few days, came upon this statement in Bill’s Story where he talks about life after he got sober.  He says, “I have been rocketed into a 4th dimension of living,” or something like that.  I am too lazy to look it up, but that is the essence of the thing.

As I was in my second week of sobriety at the time, I thought THAT would be great!  Up to that point in my life, I was always trying  to be rocketed somewhere.

My actual experience in sobriety, though, seemed to contradict Bill’s.  I definitely did not feel as if I had been rocketed or catapulted anywhere.  However, at that time, not drinking or using was definitely a better alternative than returning to the bottom that I had just been rescued from.

Anyway, funny story:  so I stay sober like forever, occasionally going on and on about how I hate my life and my job, etc.  Blah, blah, wah, wah.

Then one day I realize I actually have been in another dimension for years without realizing how or when I got here!  The universe that YOU are reading this in IS an opposite universe!  Or to say it another way, another dimension of being!

See in this universe, we do the OPPPOSITE of what our mind tells us is the right thing and are relieved of our misery and pain.  Like this, for example:  “What shall I do today,” you think.  Your mind responds, “I know, let’s use, or steal something, or lie or rob or cheat!”  Or any of a million other things.  But now, what do we DO if we DON’T want what we HAD?  Right!  We do the opposite.  We go to a meeting, call our sponsor, work a step, get out of ourselves and step into a NEW WAY OF LIVING that really works!

Hey – If you don’t believe me, you could try it!

 

Monday, Monday….By John B

in: recovery

“Monday, Monday! Just hate that day…”
Peter, Paul and Mary

It’s Tuesday, which means I survived another “post weekend return to work day”, as I like to call it …Monday.  It is the single most difficult day of the week for me.  And the reason is that on Mondays I have to change gears, put my game face on and go back to being “Customer Service man”, with a smile in my voice, and a good attitude!  “Thank you for calling (insert company name here) ….. this is John, how can I help you?” …

In other words, I have to pretend to be normal.

I even hate the WORD Monday.  Can we call it Tuesday eve or something?  To me, the word even SOUNDS gray, cold and rainy; it sounds like dampness that has settled deep in my bones.  And it feels like depression, with a side order of anxiety, please. Ooooh, yummy!

So, it’s kind of handy, shall we say to have sort of “go to” defense, some sort of ….dare I say it…….”program” from which to work?  I don’t know.

So, here is what happened:

Last Friday, I received what I call a punch in the stomach from the universe.  Did NOT see it coming, was NOT EVEN ready for it!  My first reaction on these type of assaults is to OVER REACT, hunker down.  Enjoy!  Have an nice emotional and if possible, nuclear, melt-down.  Think Three-Mile Island, Chernobyl or that one in Japan….  Go big or go home, I say….

Anyway, as a result of choosing to do this, (yes, I chose it) I had myself a horrible little weekend!  Ruined several relationships.  Spent it mostly descending deeper into madness, unable to stop myself, my character defects bristling.  Chock full of anger and fear, I proceeded as if nothing were amiss!  And the worst part?  I had no clue how to rescue myself.  None at all.  All program knowledge was temporarily inaccessible; I was on a dry drunk.

However, as I am fond of saying in meetings, my only saving grace at times is that I keep going to meetings; even when I am N-U-T-Z-O.  Luckily for me, it’s a habit.

So, I showed up at my regular Monday AA meeting.  Good day to go to a meeting, Monday.  As it happens, this particular meeting format is “As Bill Sees It”, (I always think it should be called “As Bill SAW It”!  I never seem to get tired of that joke!)

Anyway!

All of a sudden I see this : …”a spot check inventory, taken during times of distress can help….”  WAIT just a dang minute!   What?  A spot check inventory, you say…?

So, I just wanted to say…I tried it, it worked, and everything is OK now!  Yay!

Oh!  And sorry to everyone I offended!    Obviously, humility is my short suit, but that’s another story……

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