Lectures at the fralin biomedical research institute
Lectures at the fralin biomedical research institute
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“It seems like everyone has a story to tell. My social media news feeds are littered with links to blogs describing stories of wedding planners gone mad, and crayons melted into car seats. Well, I guess you can say I’m hopping on that wagon, in more ways than one. The only difference is, I’m sharing a less glamorous portrayal of life. I don’t have kids, I’m not a cook, and I don’t have the end all cure for cellulite. I’m writing for those of us who struggle with something a little needier and much less cute than a crying two-year old. I’m writing about my story of a relationship that is high maintenance, kicks you when you’re down, but you can’t seem to leave it. A relationship that goes by many names, and manifests itself in people of all shapes and sizes. I’m writing this with the hopes of helping anyone out there, who stops and says, “That sounds just like me. I’m not alone!” I hope that you can learn, find comfort, or just sheer entertainment from my stories. In return, I hope to find comfort in knowing that there are others out there like me. Now here I am, ready to show the world, me in progress…
I’d officially hit MY rock bottom. For years I’d struggled with a drinking problem. The thought of alcohol slowly trickled into my daily thoughts. Thoughts like “when will I get my next drink, do I need to stop on my way home and restock, when will this movie end so I can get a drink, should I take my car or will I be able to ‘drive’ home”. Eventually, these thoughts expanded to include the overwhelming guilt about the amount I drank, “how many calories did I just consume, what permanent damage had I caused my body, I needed to cut back, did I have enough money in my bank account to pay the bar tab, and I’m so embarrassed for acting like that last night”. These thoughts took up so much real estate in my mind that I didn’t have much room for much else.
Throughout my adult years, I engaged in the typical twenty-something activities: attending college, spending time with friends, hanging out at local bars and restaurants. I always viewed my behavior as the typical behavior for someone my age which usually consisted of consuming alcohol at nearly every event. It seemed like every activity included drinking alcohol in some form, whether at a sporting event, backyard BBQ, holiday party, and the list goes on. This behavior continued until I realized that it was not normal. And then I swept those thoughts under the rug and continued down the dark path. I realized that alcohol was beginning to become a priority in life and was my crutch to processing emotions, handling responsibilities, and addressing the stresses of everyday life. The numbing effects became my go-to answer for dealing with anything difficult or anxiety inducing. That was my solution until I found that the more I drank, the more unmanageable my life became.
At the end of last year, I started making some major lifestyle changes. I’m not just talking about a healthier life with my physical body, but a healthier life for my mind and soul. I started eating cleaner, making my own bath and body products, and trying to eliminate many of the toxins in my life. After years of smoking, I kicked the habit to the curb…we all know that’s not easy. Finally, I made a huge step to reduce how much I drink. I realized that my healthy efforts were flushed down the toilet with my 12 pack of Miller Lite. I began with switching the type of drink I consumed, avoiding aluminum cans, and purchasing trustworthy brands. This change lasted only so long, and before I knew it, I was back to my Miller Lite, and catching up for lost time. As my path became darker and darker, I began to draw a clear line between my relationship with alcohol and the stress in my life.
This understanding flipped the switch, so to say, that the only way I will achieve my full potential in life is through the complete abstinence from alcohol. I knew that in order to be successful in sobriety, I needed to reach out to those in recovery who have gone before me and who are going through the same changes as me. So, after many hours of Googling, I joined various online communities where the experience of sharing my story, as well as learning from others has provided more comfort and a feeling of belonging than I can ever describe.
So, here I am, days shy of my one year soberversary, to tell you that it is possible. And life is so much better on the other side. Sure, you’ll have your ups and downs, but nothing worth having is easy. So, for those of you who have read this and said, “that sounds like me!”, ask yourself: Why am I here? Who do I want to be? I’m a work in progress, but I’m finally figuring out the answers to those questions. And that’s why I won’t drink today!”
My recovery journey is ongoing, and not just about sobriety. It’s about learning to live in this new skin, where I don’t have crutches of addiction to hide behind. I have to build my confidence and self respect back up, since they have been hidden for so long. It’s scary to be on my own now, but then I remember … I’m not doing this alone. I stand on the shoulders of strong women who have come before me, and I will be those shoulders for someone else, even if I don’t realize it at the time.
Every day for the last 32 years, I've been grateful for the good fortune that came with getting clean and sober. It hasn't always been easy, but it has always been better.
After a long history of binge drinking, I got a DUI in 2017. One drink was never enough. I am a Registered Nurse. I lost my license for a year; I could not work. My whole identity was as an RN. It was a very humbling experience. I was placed into a diversion program. I was mandated to AA meetings 365 days. At first, I was scared, but after attending a while I finally embraced the AA program. I never thought I could stop drinking. I was "highly functional" and "the problem snuck up on me". I had to recall all the times I embarrassed the people I love, how many Christmases I ruined and how much I wasn't present in the lives of my children. When I surrendered to the Program, I became sober. I no longer have the urge to drink. I am married to a "normie", he enjoys craft beer, I tag along and have no problem with the sight or smell of alcohol. Now, I have a great job and I love being alcohol free. We do recover. It takes a willingness to acknowledge that you have a problem, and you WANT to deal with it. I now have 4.5 years sober, and I can confidently say I will not drink, my relationships are better, I sleep better, I lost about 30 pounds and I have more money at the end of the month. The benefits are awesome.
“Hi my name is Kendall and I’m an alcoholic.
My drinking started when I was about 12, I was the type of kid that would try anything once always the first one to go when a dare was presented. Shortly after I started experimenting with a little bit here or there. I got my hands on a full bottle of wine. Which I drank all of and very quickly. WOW! What a feeling: no worries, not a care in the world. I sat out in our barn and enjoyed the feeling till I thought it was safe to go in the house. From that time on I drank at every opportunity I could, as much as I could.
I didn’t have a lot of troubles as a kid. I came from a good family and went to church every Sunday so most of the drinking went unnoticed. I drank in secluded areas and with enough time that I could be somewhat normal when I returned home. I was an exceptional athlete and one time at about the age of 16, me and a friend got drunk on 100 proof vodka and Sprite. I had a baseball game later that day against a rival city and didn’t allow myself enough time to recuperate. I was not all there for the game and had a routine grounder come up and hit me in the eye, besides the sting I was embarrassed and my batting wasn’t good either. One of the older boy’s chastised me and told me never to show up in that condition again which I did, not because of him, but because I couldn’t stand the embarrassment.
I later obtained a wrestling scholarship and went to college only to find out that I couldn’t preform to my abilities and continue my off campus life so I quit. This was the first time I had ever quit anything in my life and it disturbed me, but not enough to quit drinking. From this time on the alcohol really started to become an important factor in my life. Everything I did involved alcohol. But still I didn’t suffer many consequences; a D.U.I. arrest was just an inconvenience for awhile.
I started to attend AA meetings but usually only when my wife (at the time, I went through several) threatened to leave. I would promise to quit and I would go to meetings and usually last about 30 days. My relationship with my children never suffered too much because even though there was alcohol involved we did a lot of activities together and my work never suffered so I was able to provide for them reasonably well.
My drinking got progressively worse with the amounts rising and the next morning shakes that I could only get rid of with more alcohol. These next morning shakes and the need to be rid of them started causing problems. My handwriting suffered to the point where I couldn’t recognize my own writing without a drink and typing became a one fingered affair when the shakes kicked in. This caused more morning drinking and led to my first job loss at the age of 52. I didn’t show it, but inside I was devastated. I was always very proud of my work and my accomplishments I’d come to know through hard work. At this point I decided that I’d had enough but it was only me who decided it I was still lacking in spirituality.
I went through a nine day detox at which point I felt reasonably well and made it about six months, the longest time I had been sober since twelve year’s old. When I stumbled I fell hard getting another D.U.I. and detoxing this time on an observation room floor in jail. (I wouldn’t wish this on anyone) Next came a twenty-eight day inpatient stay at a treatment center. This gave me some tools to help fight the cravings but I was still lacking spiritually and I only lasted sixty-four days before I decided that a few beers wouldn’t hurt me. My loving wife decided to call my probation officer which landed me in jail again. This time laying on a floor cot in an overcrowded jail cell in Boise, ID praying for forgiveness and relief from my affliction I found spirituality. This led me to really work at my recovery like it is a life or death matter, which I believe it is. I am happy to say that I am sober today through God’s grace and the help of all the wonderful people I’ve met both in meetings and online. I would strongly suggest that newcomers take advantage of all the online resources available. Your browser can give you places to start also there are some social media groups. May God be with you one day at a time.”
“Forty one years ago, this weekend, after three months of quart and a half a day, at just under 120 pounds, which followed the six-month stay in a Maryland State Mental hospital for the same, and no food for well over a week, in hallucinosis for most of that last week, in the same clothes for over three weeks, the same period of time with no bath, and looking like a refugee from Bergin-Belsen with leprosy, I finally got scared enough to jump in a taxi and ask the driver if there was any place in that town for drunks.
The driver spun around to see what the hell had happened to his cab, stared for several seconds, and told me ‘I know where to take you’, and I was dropped at the back door of a non-descript house in a middle-class neighborhood that I was much later to learn was one of Ralph Fox’s “Houses of Hope” in Lincoln, Nebraska. The driver told me to go in, that I’d be taken care of.
He didn’t even ask for fare – I found out the ‘why’ of that much later. I really have to wonder, now, while re-writing this, what would have happened had any other cab driver been there? I hadn’t thought of that until just now.
I really do not remember most of that next week, but a few things remain. I was horribly sick, shaking like a bass in a jazz band, terrified that I really was going to die at any minute, and didn’t know where I was.
There were a few others there, others I came to know later, Bud H., Truman, Jim, Hoyt, some others. They knew I was in deep trouble, but there was a problem – it was Labor Day weekend. Everyone with a car was doing holiday things with their families, so there was no one to take me to the State Hospital 100 miles away. I had no insurance so they couldn’t take me to the local civilian hospital, and when they tried to get me admitted to the Veteran’s Hospital the MOD who just glanced at me from about 30 feet way said ‘that son-of-a-bitch isn’t sick, he’s a God damn drunk, take him to jail where he belongs!”
They had no choice; they had to try to detox me at Hope. I remember them pushing fluids, including some God-awful mix of honey and bicarb, but mostly I remember shaking and walking, around in circles in the living room of Hope. I’d sit for a while, but then have to get up and walk around in circles. There was a TV in the room; those staying with me were ostensibly watching it while keeping an active eye on me.
After several hours I would occasionally try to pay attention to the show on TV, it was the Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon.
Over the hours of sitting, shaking, walking, shaking, talking, shaking, some of the stories on the Telethon began to percolate through. A thought started to take shape. Most of those on the Telethon were kids, most if not all were going to die, through no fault of their own, and nothing could be done for them to prevent that.
I was going to die too, and possibly kill others as well. These kids were going to die no matter what anyone did – I was going to die because I was killing myself.
Those kids couldn’t change anything about their lives.
Maybe I could.
I have made it a ritual every year since then to spend at least some time watching the MDA Telethon – in memory, and in gratitude.
A lot happened that first year, one part of which leaves me still with one small, trivial but annoying resentment. You guys & girls who can say ‘on this date at that time in this city at that location I had my last (drugs of choice here)’ – I sorta hate you.
I can’t do that.
After that Friday night I was still pretty messed up, it wasn’t until Sunday of that weekend that I remember any substantial part of any of the AA Meetings they were taking me to, and over a week before I regained any functional control at all. It was apparently very obvious to those around me that even though drying out I was still crazier than a bedbug. They went with it though, anyway, and continued to ferry me to meetings & such.
On Monday they thought I was stable enough to get cleaned up, so they made me go down to the basement of Hope to take a shower, shave & clean up while someone washed my clothes – they were sick of smelling me. When I came back upstairs the guys in the kitchen reacted almost in shock on seeing me. Bud asked with some amazement “How old ARE you?!” I answered “26, why?”, and he broke out laughing, the others just more or less shook their heads wryly. Bud said “We all thought you were at least 60!”
Anyhow, they encouraged me to go to meetings and read the books, which I did; I had nothing else to do. I did, however, start getting into it, some of the stuff from the meetings was sort of making sense, and some of the reading was too.
But I was still me. I asked questions that were a little more off the wall than others had, and said things, my opinions on various, that made them shake their heads even more.
After maybe a month or so, and this is the beginning of the resentment, my unemployment checks from DC came in, I got three at once. I was relatively ‘rich’, for the moment. I paid my rent due so far ($25.00/week), bought some clothes, and decided I needed to take a bus 50 miles up to Omaha to ‘look for a job’. I told the guys, somewhat truly, that I’d tried in Lincoln, without success. I did. I put in a few applications with some employment agencies, but then stopped by a place I knew of from earlier years that wasn’t very rigorous with I.D. requirements (didn’t have any, all lost on preceding adventures) and asked for a coke. Waitress said they didn’t have any and I said “bring me a Schlitz then.”
I had to test this ‘loss of control’ thing I’d been hearing about, and I, thank whatever higher powers there be, failed again. Fortunately I had bought a round-trip ticket.
I slunk back into Hope that weekend’s Sunday, broke and hung-over, and somehow got away with it. I should have been thrown out, but they all pretended not to know. To this day I don’t know why they let that slide.
Now the explanation of the resentment – nobody really expected me to last, including me, we all knew I was just too nuts, so no one really kept track of the dates.
About a year later it started coming up, I was still sober, I should have an anniversary due. We all knew it was about a year – but on what day? Hell, none of us, and especially me, knew within a three week period when my last drunk was.
That’s why I always wait until well into October before picking up a chip, and why I have the resentment for you who know.
Anyhow, this is the weekend it all started, Labor Day Weekend, forty years ago, I began the climb back to some facsimile of humanity – but not on my own.
Thank you who saved my life – and gave me a new one.
Others may have done it themselves, I couldn’t, and I didn’t, I didn’t know how to.”
“My name is Dan and my journey of recovery has been an amazing work of God who in Christ Jesus has restored me to Him and through Him I’m delivered from the addiction that was killing me.
My story is one of early onset of addiction that spiraled into a downward progression that left me without hope. I became the opposite person God had created me to be and through the intercession of those placed He in my life, I began to accept help. I didn’t become “zapped” into recovery, no “burning bush”, but it has been a journey of trial and error and learning to live one day at a time without a drink or a drug.
My quest in recovery has been a series of realizations that have matured into a way of life. I was born into an alcoholic abusive home that was riddled with patterns that have taken a lifetime (one day at a time) to undo and habilitate a new way. My story is not that unusual for someone who is pre-disposed for addiction. I come from a long line of alcoholics, generationally it is a long way back. The chain appears to be broken, as my son appears to be carrying the torch of recovery earlier and hopefully a new path is being forged.
The people that have been “God with skin on” for me are too numerous to number or make reference to. Suffice to say that God has Anointed my life with countless saints who have come into my life at just the right time and have taught me what I needed to know right at that moment. Much of this awareness is understood in reflection, or as I like to say “Monday morning quarterbacking”. My recovery is a gift from God, there is no other explanation that makes sense to me. I should be dead, and I’m not, simple. At age 21 I was diagnosed with partial beginning cirrhosis of the liver, have experienced numerous blackouts where I have zero recollection as to what I may have been experiencing, countless times in cars driving and as a passenger that I was so blown away mentally, that the fact we weren’t killed is a miracle. I could go on and on, but the point is that I didn’t get myself sober, I have been gifted with sobriety from God, and I continue to prosper and grow spiritually, which is the answer to this body-mind-spirit malady.
I’m grateful today for the program of AA that led me back to my Savior, Jesus Christ and His Grace that sustains me in all things. My hope is that through this affiliation I can be of assistance and help to others, as I realize that Christianity isn’t a prerequisite for getting sober, I’m sharing my story. I’m not preaching or attempting to evangelize folks to Christianity ( even though I believe that Christ is the Way, The Truth and The LIFE) I am a former drunk who has found new life in recovery and have returned to my Faith of a child.
I am open to be a part of your study in any way or no way, whatever is going to help people find that there is life after “putting the plug in the jug, and throwing away the drugs.”
IN PEACE, LOVE AND RECOVERY”
“I had been an alcoholic for 26 years. I started using marijuana at around age 15. The pot smoking lead to the drinking. I smoked pot and drank beer and liquor everyday from 1983 to 2012. I began using crack cocaine around 2003 and used everyday along with weed and alcohol.
I went into drug/alcohol treatment in September 2012 and have been clean and sober ever since. That’s the short story. I had been put into jail, mental institutions and hospitals more times than I can remember.”
“How a gifted surgeon and God saved my life:
I have been a member of AA for the past 4 years. They say in Alcoholics Anonymous that you will eventually hear your story being shared by a chairperson. I have not yet heard my story. I think this may be because most people do not survive an acute bleed out of three and a half pints of blood in 20 minutes from 3 open varices in their upper intestine and esophagus.
I drank for for 27 years. At 38 I went to rehab and intensive outpatient therapy. I still did not believe I was powerless over alcohol. At 41 I developed ascites because of scarring of my liver. My eyes were very yellow. I was jaundice. I spent a week in the hospital having fluid drained from my body. I still do not believe I was powerless over alcohol. At 42 I vomited three and a half pints of blood in 20 minutes. 3 varices in my esophagus and upper intestine. For the grace of God and a very gifted GI surgeon,, who was still at the hospital at 8 o’clock at night, I am alive today! I had a 30 percent chance of living when I arrived at the ER. I was then given a 50 percent chance of living after emergency surgery. The second night in the ICU I crashed. For the grace of God they were able to bring me back. I am grateful today that AA and the 12 steps have made me a recovered alcoholic. I thank God for my continued spiritual experiences and have relieved me of the mental obsession and the physical craving of alcohol.”
“I had my last drink of alcohol in July of 2004. In the 18 months preceding that, I had been actively seeking treatment for my alcoholism. I knew that AA involved praying, God, smoking, talking at length about oneself, and people I wasn’t sure I wanted to be around. It also seemed to me that if alcoholism was indeed a disease, then I’d be better off seeking help from the medical community. While I was still able (meaning, before I lost my job and my health insurance due to my drinking), I went to pretty much every variety of health-care person that was accessible to me. Essentially, they all shook their heads, shrugged, and said “Stop drinking, go to AA”, and indicated that the visit was over. And no mention whatsoever of cognitive behavioral therapy, Vivitrol, contingency management, baclofen — not even Antabuse. A little baffled, I shrugged and began to attend AA meetings. Their effect on me and my emotional state with respect to my drinking ranged from none at all, to a marked increase in the depth and degree of my despair. After months of attending AA meetings, stopping drinking entirely still didn’t seem and had never seemed a reasonable or realistic option. Finally, I agreed to enter a “treatment center”, it being obvious to me at the time that AA wasn’t “working”, and that I needed “treatment”, not AA. I then discovered what a “treatment center” really was — a place where they throw you in with a dozen or so other nitwits and shove AA down your throat. After surviving 30 days at to what I came to refer as “jail lite”, I left, and six weeks later I was drinking again, with increased fervor and urgency. At that point, with my job and health insurance long gone, the question of whether I could find “medical treatment” for my “disease” was rendered academic. The only treatment for my alcoholism, I felt, was more alcohol, and I nearly died. After a period of some months, I found myself in another “jail lite” facility. Again, AA was force-fed. Nowhere was there any mention of anything that appeared might help me recover what I had lost. I spent the first few months of my “recovery” waiting to die. I can’t explain how it came to pass that I’m sitting here typing this today. My best guess is that I’m simply lucky. I do still attend a couple AA meetings a week, and as much as I would love to profess that “the Program” is the reason I’m sober, it would be a half-truth at best. Again, I can’t explain why, but at some point I simply decided that I had had it with the whole business — that enough was simply enough.”
“I believe in guardian angels – my dad is one…
Grew up in a alcoholic home. Mom was Bipolar, a musical and intellectual genius. Dad was a travelling wholesaler for Krylon spray paints; WW II vet, fighter pilot, flew out of Malta against Rommel and then got transferred to eastern Italy where he flew missions into what was then Yugoslavia. He met an Italian girl and sired a half-sister I’ll never know [’cause the secret died with his squadron buddies]. Mom and Dad divorced when I was 11. Dad committed suicide with alcohol, codeine cough syrup and barbiturates when I was 15. My drinking and drugging took off at that point. Suffice it to say that if the drug was made before 1981, it’s been in my system – with a vengeance… I spent roughly 12 years on and off the road with a bunch of different bands – most of them pretty good ones, but none you’d recognize by name. [I jammed in Boston with T-Bone Walker a number of times; warmed up for Paul Butterfield, the Drifters, Sly and the Family Stone]. Had a lot of fun, in Boston, San Francisco, Boulder and Maine, but slowly spiraled downward. Was partly responsible for losing a marriage and the opportunity to raise a lovely daughter…
Hit bottom Nov 1st, 1981 after a huge Halloween bash. My band was playing at in a warehouse in the South End of Boston. Woke up the next day looking at the blood in the toilet again after throwing up several times. Couldn’t keep down the customary pint of frozen Cossack Vodka or the two Schlitz tall boys I’d saved for the hair of the dog. Drenched in sweat, shaking all over… So here’s the guardian angel part: I heard my dad’s voice in that moment, saying, “It’s not your time to go. Get help now.” I was alone in the apartment, but I felt someone picking me up with hands under my arms, pushing me into the living room toward the phone. The phone book opened directly to Alcoholics Anonymous. They called me back after finding a bed at Kenmore Detox – then part of the Salvation Army next to Fenway Park on Brookline Ave. My roadie Bruce took me there. I spent five days in that detox, chain smoking Camel non-filters and reading a science fiction anthology.
They had AA meetings every day in the detox. And I don’t remember what they said, but I remember how they looked. They had a light in their eyes that I couldn’t explain. They seemed happy. As I left detox, the head nurse affectionatelty kicked my ass and said with a smile, “Good luck, kid. Hit ’90 in 90′. We don’t wanna see your ass back here again.” I have stayed sober ever since. I hit 180 in 90. After that my sponsor said, “Do another 180 in 90.” She died after retiring from John Hancock in early spring that next year – complications from alcohol and diabetes. I got another sponsor, but we never worked the Steps. I stayed “abstinent” for seven years, got a resentment against my home group and left AA for 9 months, staying “dry” that entire time. Don’t know how it was that I didn’t drink or drug. I went nearly insane, angry and suicidal. My second wife filed for divorce. I went to see a counselor who immediately urged me to get back to both AA and Al-Anon. I finally started to work the Steps – about time huh? Please don’t do it the way I did it! That’s a recipe for disaster…
Somehow I’ve survived to this day, but only through following the suggestions of fellow AA/Al-Anon members, working through the Steps , more than once in several programs, holding service positions in my home groups, and working with others that helped me stay sober. I quit smoking those Camels in 1991 using the 12 Steps and Nicotine Anonymous. I’ve also been part of a men’s group that has met every Friday morning at 6:45 for the past 18 years. We all happen to be in recovery. We have saved each other’s lives more than once. One member died in early March of 2011 of brain cancer. We were with him every step of the way. I played guitar and sang it his wedding. I was fortunate enough to be asked to lead the prayer circles outside the hospital prior to each of his surgeries. There were over 1200 people at his memorial service, and the two men’s groups he was part of were included in that service.
I’ve been fortunate enough to have worked in the field of recovery for the past 20 years. I got to be a consultant/counselor for a couple of months at Crossroads Centre, Antigua – the house that Clapton built. The real gift is that I love to watch the lights come on and watch people come home to themselves. That is a true gift. I have a fabulous relationship with my daughter too – a direct result of recovery… I met Wally P. in 2009 and broke bread with him several times after that too. He did an awesome job with “Back to Basics” – don’t know about it? Check it out. It’s the way old timers took people through the Steps in the 40’s and 50’s, using 52 cherry-picked paragraphs from the Big Book. Their success rate? 50 – 75%. I’m a heretic you say? Read Appendix II in the Big Book. It basically warns about “contempt prior to investigation” i.e., don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it… I’ve watched a ton of newcomers catch fire doing the Steps that way. They run right out and start working with others. And guess what – they stay sober!! So don’t forget what Dr. Bob wrote on his prescription pad: Trust God; Clean House; Help Others. Bill W. verified that working with others is “the healing circuit.”
Keep on trudgin’ that road to happy destiny! Yours in recovery, Howlandwoof”
“I went to work on May 11th, 1976 and the company had dispersed booklets on all the managers’ desks pertaining to the use and abuse of alcohol. I read the booklet, and it dawned on me that I did have a problem, one of many. This booklet addressed alcoholism and maybe there was an out for me. I was in trouble with my marriage, owed bookies and bar rooms money, and was drinking on and off the job daily…I went to see the company counselor that day and talked to him for hours. He stated that even though I had gone for help, he knew me now and because I refused to go to detox or on Antibuse, he would fire me if he heard fo me drinking on the job again. I told him that if he did not have to drink, neither did I. Well, I never did again and I just celebrated 36 years of sobriety. It’s been a tough time but one thing stands in mind: TSDD. Which is the number plate on my automobile in Naples, Florida. Tough Shit Don’t Drink. The Golden Rule.”
“I was the puppet of addiction for 13 years of my life. God threw me a rope on 7/7/12 to climb out of that hole I had dug myself into. That rope was made of the 12 steps of AA, a sponsor, a home group, and all the hugs and handshakes. Life is great today.”
“What Do I Do When
· My Stomach turns….I sit with it. What did I use to do? Drink
· The rush of tears well up in my throat and pour out of my eyes…I turn to God and talk to ease the pain What did I use to do? Turn to alcohol to be my friend.
· I lose a relationship with someone I’m in love with… I get busy and get involved with helping others or I volunteer for charities.
· I feel like a total loser in life….I begin the process of ego checking, and attachment of false desires, I go into the 12 and read step 6. What did I use to do? Drink alone and cry
· I don’t get what I want…I write about what is really underlying in the want, and the importance of meaning behind the want. What did I use to do?…Drink, Drink, Drink and feel sorry for myself.
· The unexpected happens…I pause, I pray, I breathe and then I act with calm control. What did I use to do? React, freak out and lose control and drink.
· I want a hug and no one is here to give me one….I pick up the phone and call a friend, I get in my car and go to a meeting, I call someone to come over and visit, I go see someone in the hospital, I make dinner for someone, I call my brothers or go and see them and give them a hug. What did I use to do? Have affairs.
· I’m afraid of losing what I have…I step into the steps and inventory my fears. What did I use to do? Feel sorry for myself and become a victim.
I have learned so much more than any therapy session could have ever given me. Sitting in that chair for all these years have given me friends that are priceless. I am very grateful to be among the greatest group ever established in the world.”