Tag Archive: Alcoholism


With March almost over I wanted to do a little check in.  This has been a big month for us.  I turned 30 years old, celebrated 9 years at my current job and we started foster/adoptive parent classes.  I have not been to a meeting in two weeks, I was feeling a little burnt out.  Plus with class being on Wed nights and not getting home till after 9pm the next day I feel dead.  Makes it hard to want to go anywhere Thursday night as well.  I do miss my Al-anon family, but right now I have to take care of myself.

I was taught that in Al-Anon, we have to take care of ourselves.  And right now that means getting rest and not over doing it.  The first class was a shocker and until I get used to staying up late on Wed nights it might be a little bit till I can get to a meeting.  I still do my reading and will still try to keep in touch with everyone.

This being the third month we talked about the third step, I am having to do that a lot and turn stuff over.  Its hard, but I know in my heart that my Higher Power is there right beside me through all of this.  I pray for the strength to stay on track and make it though this process of becoming a parent.  I know my daughter is out there somewhere, just waiting for us like we are waiting for her.

I use the serenity prayer so much om my way to work – it’s a good thing I don’t have my windows down, the cars next to me might hear me yell it over and over to myself till I can say it calmly from the heart.  That’s when I know my higher power has heard me and I feel the calming nature of his presence with me.

What are somethings that you have turned over to the care of God, as you understood him?  What are somethings that you know you need to let go of but are having an issue doing so?

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New Month, next step…

The 3rd step is also the 3rd step in my little cha-cha dance.

Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.

We made a decision…  this says to me that it is truly up to me to make this choice.  I can choose to be sick and crazy, or I can choose to get better and ask for help from my higher power.  If I ask for help then I have to be willing to get out of the damn way so that He can do what He needs to do to help me. And it’s the care of God not the full control, not the ultimate fix all.  We still have to play a part in our lives, we just have to be willing to ask the right questions and listen to the answers.  It may not be what we want and it may not even be something that we understand at the very moment.  But it is there, if we ask for it.

If I ask for the ability to understand my husband, He is going to give me a situation where I have to be understanding.  If I want to forgive my husband, He will give me a situation where I will need to forgive.  If I ask to be more patient, He will give me a situation where I have to show patience.  He is not going to magically give me what I ask for, He is going to give me the tools to show myself that I have the ability to do it.  Al-Anon has shown me that when I asked for strength, He showed me that I am strong.

So as we start our step 3, remember that it is in this step that we learn that God is willing to show us what we already have inside us, if we are willing to trust Him and ask for His help.  It’s like asking for someone to take the blindfold off so you can look at your self for the first time.  You get to see all the wonderful things inside you that has been there the whole time, it was just hidden behind our own blockades.  We pulled off the blinders, we pulled back the shades…seeing the true self that is there by asking God for His help, we should be ready for the next step – Our personal inventory, but more on that next month.

If no one has told you they love you today, I love you and God does too.

 

 

12 days ago was my 9th month recovery birthday.  I feel a little sad that I don’t get the same milestone celebrations as AA members do.  My Al-anon group only does the yearly coins.  I guess there are some Al-anon groups that don’t even do that…So I will just count my blessings.  I never thought those coins could mean something, but after seeing my husband get his – and other get theirs – it makes me want my own little remembrance that:

YES – I can get better.

YES – I can make it through one day at a time.

YES – I can find love, strength, hope and faith again.

YES – I can support my husband without losing myself.

I also have to remember that I don’t need for something to be recognized by someone else to have it mean more to me.  If it is important to me, then that is who I need to get recognition from.  I need to recognize my own self worth.  I also need to make sure that I gibe non solicited recognition out to my husband and others who I see make changes in their lives.  I need to say out loud that I see how far he has come in his recovery.  Him knowing that I see it and had the mind-set to say it will then show to myself and him just how far in my own recovery I have come.

So – here is my 9th month coin.  It’s a Digital one – but that’s OK  – in just 3 short months I will be getting my one year recovery coin.    If you would like your own digital chip, this is where I got mine: http://serenityfound.org/chips/chips.html

We need to have fun in recovery – we need to learn to laugh at ourselves.  I have learned to laugh and have fun – meetings don’t always have to be about sad or bad things.  I think that new comers need to hear about the good things too.  Offers them hope that they will laugh again one day.  Nothing will be posted with the intention to offend – even though that is a risk that I take with every post.  Some people may not like what I have to say, but that’s their choice.  I have a few funny things to post and then maybe do some exploring into what happens when someone has a relapse.

If you would like to post how long you have been in recovery for, your sobriety birthday, or just share words of hope for others – please feel free to do so in the comment box and as always:

If no one has told you they love you today, I love you and God does too. 

 

Open Letter from the Alcoholic, from the pamphlet: Three Views of Al-Anon (P15)

 

I am an alcoholic. I need your help.

Don’t lecture, blame or scold me. You wouldn’t be angry with me for having cancer or diabetes. Alcoholism is a disease, too.
Don’t pour out my liquor; it’s just a waste because I can always find ways of getting more.
Don’t let me provoke your anger. If you attack me verbally or physically, you will only confirm my bad opinion about myself. I hate myself enough already.
Don’t let your love and anxiety for me lead you into doing what I ought to do for myself. If you assume my responsibilities, you make my failure to assume them permanent. My sense of guilt will be increased, and you will feel resentful.
Don’t accept my promises. I’ll promise anything to get off the hook. But the nature of my illness prevents me from keeping my promises, even though I mean them at the time.
Don’t make empty threats. Once you have made a decision, stick to it.
Don’t believe everything I tell you; it may be a lie. Denial of reality is a symptom of my illness. Moreover, I’m likely to lose respect for those I can fool too easily.
Don’t let me take advantage of you or exploit you in any way. Love cannot exist for long without the dimension of justice.
Don’t cover up for me or try in any way to spare me the consequences of my drinking. Don’t lie for me, pay my bills, or meet my obligations. It may avert or reduce the very crisis that would prompt me to seek help. I can continue to deny that I have a drinking problem as long as you provide an automatic escape for the consequences of my drinking.
Above all, do learn all you can about alcoholism and your role in relation to me. Go to open AA meetings when you can. Attend Al-Anon meetings regularly, read the literature and keep in touch with Al-Anon members. They’re the people who can help you see the whole situation clearly.

I love you.
Your Alcoholic

as we understood him…

“When, therefore, we speak to you of God, we mean your own conception of God. This applies, too, to other spiritual

AA Big Book

AA Big Book (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

expressions which you find in this book. Do not let any prejudice you may have against spiritual terms deter you from honestly asking yourself what they mean to you. At the start, this was all we needed to commence spiritual growth, to effect our first conscious relation with God as we understood Him. Afterward, we found ourselves accepting many things which then seemed entirely out of reach. That was growth, but if we wished to grow we had to begin somewhere. So we used our own conception, however limited it was. We needed to ask ourselves but one short question. ‘Do I now believe, or am I willing to believe, that there is a Power greater than myself?’ As soon as a man can say that he does believe, or is willing to believe, we emphatically assure him that he is on his way. It has been repeatedly proven among us that upon this simple cornerstone a wonderfully effective spiritual structure can be built.* (please be sure to read “Spiritual Experience”)” (p47 The Anonymous Press Mini Edition of Alcoholics Anonymous

Charlie The Caterpillar…

The Brown Bottle by Penny Jones

Once there was a caterpillar named Charlie who lived in the Valley of Promises.

Gypsy moth caterpillar Category:Lepidoptera

Gypsy moth caterpillar Category:Lepidoptera (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There was nothing observably special about Charlie. He was an average looking caterpillar amidst thousands of others. Like them, he spent the majority of his time crawling from leaf to leaf, eating as much as he pleased, & dozing in the warm sunlight. Life was good & Charlie was happy.

As you know, there is something very special about caterpillars. From the time they are born, they are aware that something beautiful beyond imagination will one day occur. It is called The Promise.

Charlie was a believer. For as long as he could remember, he had loved The Promise. Its mystery filled his days & nights with dreams of anticipation.

In this way, Charlie was special, for his love of The Promise by far exceeded that of any normal caterpillar. He grew more & more impatient in his intense desire to receive its gift.

One day, as Charlie was exploring the valley, he was attracted by a bright, shiny object lying in the meadow. It was a brown bottle. The sun’s rays danced on the glass & gave it an aura of golden splendour. It seemed to beckon Charlie. Filled with excitement, he hurried as fast as he could go.

Charlie was a bit scared when he reached the bottle, for it was something entirely new & frightening. As he explored it, curiosity soon overcame his fear. He traveled its surface from end to end & top to bottom.

When Charlie entered the bottle, something magical seemed to happen. A soft mellow glow enveloped him in the warmth of a false utopia. After a time, he was lulled to sleep by the gentle voice of the bottle whispering pleasures yet to come.

At first, Charlie spent most of his time leading the normal life of a caterpillar with only occasional trips into the brown bottle. But as the days passed, he longed more & more for the mellow glow it offered & his trips became frequent. He began to venture deeper & deeper into the bottle to find the utopia he sought.

bubble of beer on a bottle Bierblase auf einer...

bubble of beer on a bottle Bierblase auf einer Flasche (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sometimes, Charlie’s friends came to visit while he was in the bottle. As he moved about within its glass walls, he appeared to be different than he really was. Pleased with all of the attention he received, he would do silly things to make his friends laugh. Charlie loved being the centre of attention & his friends’ laughter made him feel important. Then, the bottle seemed to whisper, “Charlie, when you are with me, you are a very, very special caterpillar.” And Charlie felt, that indeed, what the bottle had said was true.

By the end of the summer, Charlie seldom left the bottle. It had become more important to him than the warmth of the sunlight, more important than the companionship of his friends, even more important than the Valley of Promises itself. He began to depend on the bottle for all of his needs. It had become his home.

With the coming of fall, the world outside the bottle began to change. Cold winds swept down from the north. Green plants turned brown & died. There was a rush of activity among the caterpillars for they knew that they, too, must change with the seasons & prepare for the winter to come.

On the final day of preparation, Charlie’s friends went to the bottle & called to him, “Charlie, please come out before it is too late. We must get ready to receive The Promise.”

Surrounded by the warm glow, Charlie gazed out upon the barren valley. “I would be foolish to leave this warm, safe place & go out into the cold with you. I could leave if I wanted to, but I would rather stay here.” Laden with sorrow, Charlie’s friends turned away from him in hopelessness & returned to their tasks.

One day, as Charlie gazed out upon the snow covered valley, the bottle again spoke to him, “Charlie, you have seen your friends suffer from the cold in their quest for The Promise while you have remained here, warm & safe, with me. Surely by now, you know that I am better for you than an empty promise.”

And Charlie knew, that indeed, what the bottle had said was true. On that day, Charlie deserted his belief in The Promise, & surrendered his dreams to the control of the brown bottle.

Winter passed slowly & Charlie lived in a hazy world within his glass confines. During his long stay, he had not eaten or taken care of himself. He began to grow frail & thin. The warm glow was slowly fading. The bottle’s walls were becoming cold & uncaring.

On occasion, Charlie tried to reach the bottle’s opening in an attempt to again find the outside world. But now the voice of the bottle was cruel & commanding, “Charlie, you cannot leave!” Weak from hunger & filled with despair, Charlie would slide feebly back into the depths of the bottle. At these times, he would utter quietly to himself, “I could leave if I wanted to, but I would rather stay here.”

The mellow glow was completely gone now & there was nothing special about Charlie any more. His good feelings about himself had gradually been replaced with guilt & hatred. He had become nothing more than a sad, frightened little caterpillar, trapped in a brown bottle.

Spring came. The valley was filled with beauty beyond compare. The sky was a rainbow of color as thousands of butterflies tested their wings for the first time in a never ending flight of freedom.

… THE PROMISE HAD BEEN FULFILLED …

On the day of The Promise,
Charlie died.
Alone,
in silent desperation.
No one knew,
no one cared.
Least of all, the brown bottle.

THE PROMISE

Alcoholism, if not controlled, is a deadly illness. It is the silent thief of hopes & dreams, the destroyer of families & love. It robs its victim of pride & dignity, offering guilt & self-hatred in return.

Hope does exist for the alcoholic. With proper treatment & sobriety, alcoholism can be controlled. The alcoholic is then free to live a rich & rewarding life. Achievement of one’s greatest potential is once again possible … The Promise can be fulfilled.

Tonight at our meetings, my hubby gets his 9 month coin.  I am thinking about not going to Al-Anon tonight and going into his AA meeting.  I was also thinking about maybe getting some cookies or a cake to take in – but that might have to wait till his one year – I will be bringing in a cake for that night for sure!!  I am very proud of how far we have come.  He has made a lot of changes.  There are things that are still hard, but we will both always be in recovery.  This is something we will both have the rest of our lives.  I was co-dependent and thought I had to give up my spine.  But I have learned how not to feed off of the negative and how to thrive as a strong women.

Can I live without him? Yes, where as before I thought I could not.  The key thing now is, I know I CAN do it, but I would rather not.  I would rather have him in my left and share with me all the ups and downs than to be without him.  I know I can do it now, so what is keeping me with him is love not fear.  We both know that now and it has helped.  He has told many people, even so I can hear it that he knows he can not bowl me over.  He said I fond my spine within the walls of Al-Anon and he is happy I did.  I had a very overbearing moth growing up, it was her way of the high way, nothing wrong with that, but it made me a little more timid about standing up.

I still have an issue with it sometimes, but I have been able to walk away from something, but go back and say “Hey, that was not nice.”  I have learned that not every comment needs a response, so I can keep my mouth shut when it’s not needed.  (Most of the time)  Has life been hard, you bet!  Has it been hard on us having to pay for all of his court stuff, you bet!  But we would have been in the same boat paying for his drinking too.  Do I wish we had more money, hell yes!  But I also want health more.  Everyday I wake up and have another healthy day, another day on this earth, another day to share with the love of my life and grow and learn together – well I am blessed for everyday I get.  I am just trying to get through one day at a time, cause well how can I fix tomorrow when today is still a mess.  All I can do is right at this very moment.  I can not change the outcome of things.  I can not control everything.

I used to have to feel like I had control over it all, but guess what – I don’t!  I need to work on my letting go and letting god still.  There are somethings I still have an issue with on letting go of.  I need to step back and re-look at everything.

the Third tradition…

The AA 3rd tradition:  The only requirement for AA membership is a desire to stop drinking.

The one for Al-Anon is a bit different.

The Al-Anon 3rd tradition: The relatives of alcoholics, we gathered together for mutual aid, may call themselves an Al-Anon Family Group, provided that, as a group, they have no other affiliation. The only requirement for membership is that there be a problem of alcoholism in a relative or friend.

I love going to my home group meetings, they really help me out.  I am sometimes asked what you need to be able to go to a meeting.  An open heart, an open mind and the want to get better.  But when they say you must have someone in your life, a family member or a friend who has a drinking issue – well that’s almost everyone.  Anyone who is a heavy drinker effects everyone in their life.

How many of us went through all the pain and suffering of watching a loved one fight their demons and not be able to offer any help?   It consumes you, it fills all of your thoughts and your time, the disease now becomes ours as well and we start our denial.  I know, cause I have been there – I thought that the only way to love him was to take care of all of his short comings.  I had to help him fix everything, I had to help him cover up things, I had to continue with the lies he started.

I sit in my home group and hear everyone’s stories, spouse, best friend, parents, children – who ever it is that has the issue – it consumes our lives juat like it did theirs.  Even if their addict isn’t getting better, or is not in program, they are still getting better.  My addict is getting better, he is in program and we are recovering together.  Our marriage is recovering, our lives are recovering, I could not imagine going back to they way it was 9 months ago.  Heck, even 6 months ago we were still not really sure what was going to happen between us.

 

If no one has told you they love you today, I love you and God does too!

Codependency – Part 4

This is a 5 part Post on Co-dependency.

Part 4 of 5

Compliance patterns:

  • I compromise my own values and integrity to avoid rejection or others’ anger.
  • I am very sensitive to how others are feeling and feel the same.
  • I am extremely loyal, remaining in harmful situations too long.
  • I value others’ opinions and feelings more than my own and am afraid to express differing opinions and feelings of my own.
  • I put aside my own interests and hobbies in order to do what others want.
  • I accept sex and/or sexual attention when I want love.
  • I am afraid to express my beliefs, opinions, and feelings when they differ from those of others.
  • I make decisions without regard to the consequences.
  • I give up my truth to gain the approval of others or to avoid change.

I knew that what was happening between my husband and I was getting bad, but I was at a loss as to how to fix it.  I would just avoid him rather than talk about what was going on in my head.  I could never talk about my feelings with him because it always was a fight or he would say what I was feeling was stupid.  I was told by a few people that I should just leave him, I said you know what I took a vow.  I took a vow to stay with him through sickness and in health, through good times and bad.  I was willing to stay in a bad situation that was unhealthy for all parties due to that fact that I loved the other person and could not bear the thought of not being with him.  When I reached my breaking point it had gotten so bad that I was not sure there was any way out of the hole we both had been frantically digging.

To be continued…

If no one has told you they love you today, I love you and God does too!

Codependency – Part 2

This is a 5 part Post on Co-dependency.

self-esteem, groups and hate

self-esteem, groups and hate (Photo credit: Will Lion)

Part 2 of 5

Low self-esteem patterns:

  • I have difficulty making decisions.
  • I judge everything I think, say or do harshly, as never “good enough.”
  • I am embarrassed to receive recognition and praise or gifts.
  • I do not ask others to meet my needs or desires.
  • I value others’ approval of my thinking, feelings and behavior over my own.
  • I do not perceive myself as a lovable or worthwhile person.
  • I constantly seek recognition that I think I deserve.
  • I am jealous of the relationships between others I would like to have as my own.
  • I have difficulty admitting that I made a mistake.
  • I need to appear to be right in the eyes of others and will even lie to look good.
  • I perceive myself as superior to others.
  • I look to others to provide my sense of safety.
  • I have difficulty getting started, meeting deadlines, and completing projects.
  • I have trouble setting healthy priorities.

I used to have a big issue with making decisions about the smallest things – where to go eat – what to eat after we go there – what movie to go see – what to wear – what to buy.  It was horrible to live that way.  Or I would make a decision too quickly and then regret it later.  I would buy something and then freak out about it, even if it was just a few bucks.  I even did that for items that were needed.  I always needed to pat on the back for things I did and when I did get it I would not know what to do with myself.  I also would go into this “are they really happy with what I did or are they just saying it to make me happy?”  But truth was, I was never happy – even when I got the approval I was looking for.

I would make things sound like a much bigger deal than they were just to get someone to look at me differently.  I felt like if I didn’t have an interesting story then no one would want to talk to me.  Not realizing that the real me was just as interesting as anyone else.  The problem was that even I didn’t know the real me to be able to talk about her.  I am just getting to know the real me all over again, and you know what I found?  I like the real me, she is a pretty cool chip in her own right.  I am just going to stick to being me from now on, life seems so much better when I have the real me on my side.

To be continued…

If no one has told you they love you today, I love you and God does too!

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