Daily Reflections: April 9

Daily Reflections

Freedom from “King Alcohol”

…let us not suppose even for an instant that we are not under constraint… Our former tyrant, King Alcohol, always stands ready again to clutch us to him. Therefore, freedom from alcohol is the great “must” that has to be achieved, else we go mad or die.

As Bill Sees It, p. 134

 

When drinking, I lived in spiritual, emotional, and sometimes, physical confinement. I had constructed my prison with bars of self-will and self-indulgence, from which I could not escape. Occasionally dry spells that seemed to promise freedom would turn out to be little more than hopes of a reprieve. True escape required willingness to follow whatever right actions were needed to turn the lock. With that willingness and action, both the lock and the bars themselves opened for me. Continued willingness and action keep me free– in a kind of extended daily probation-that need never end.

 

I confined myself physically and mentally when I would drink. I’d isolate and drink alone in the dark. Every waking hour my mind would think of alcohol.  Everything in my life revolved around drinking. I was delusional about my disease. Thankfully, I had a divine intervention that pushed started my recovery. Ultimately, before my intervention I wasn’t willing to face the facts, denial was my friend. Now I know my denial and unwillingness was part of the problem that kept sucking me back into alcoholism.

I use the WHO acronym as foundation for my recovery. I have to be Willing to make positive changes in my life. I have to be willing to accept reality.  I also must be honest with myself and others. One lie can snowball into a mountain! I find being brutally honest in all my fairs to be a stress reliever. I must also be Open-minded. Everybody’s road to recovery is different. What works for me may not work for you. Keeping an open mind helped me take in other people’s honest advice and opinions. I then would do research and through trial and error I was able to find my recovery sweet spot.

If you are struggling and do not know where to start, start with WHO. Everyday make it a point to become more Willing, Honest, and Open-minded. There are a plethora of roads to the top start carving your journey today!

 

– Strive to become the best version of yourself!

 

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12-Steps Simplified

12-steps stairs

These are the simplified 12-steps for those who struggle with a higher power.

  1. I admit that I have no control over my drug/alcohol use. It has caused me unacceptable consequences. I will not live like this anymore!
  2. There is help for me to recover, it is my responsibility to find it.
  3. I will accept help and advice from people who have had similar experiences.
  4. I will take inventory of myself. Looking for any behavior and personality that caused problems to others and I.
  5. I will tell someone my inventory to help the self-evaluation process.
  6. I will make positive changes in my life.
  7. Work daily to remove your shortcomings.
  8. Make a list of  people who I negatively affected from my substance use.
  9. Exercise good judgement, and make amends to those people you have adversely affected.
  10. I will continue to work on my problems and admit mistakes when they arise.
  11. I will reflect on my personal growth and development.
  12. I will pay it forward and help others.

Gratitude

Gratitude- is the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.

When my journey to recovery began I was told to get into a routine. Every morning I would wake up make my bed, pray, and then write out a gratitude list. Everyday I write down 5 things I am grateful for. The next day I will write down five new things I am grateful for, trying not to repeat from the day before. This helped me realize and appreciate the little things in life. Such as having a place to rest my head at night or being able to eat everyday. These are things I took for granted even as an adult. After living with alcoholism I now know nothing should be taken for granted. Being grateful for the little things is what helped me build my recovery foundation.

They have apps you can use to type and save your gratitude list, or you can just go old school with pen and paper. I like being able to go back and reread my gratitude lists. This helps me recognize patterns, good or bad that I might need to address.

As I sit on an airplane headed to Vegas, for work, I have so much to be grateful for. I am grateful for my health, my loving family, having food to eat, a place to stay, and a job. I am also grateful for being an addict. The disease has torn me down, but I have been able to slowly rebuild my life. That is something I never thought I’d end up saying over a year later.

If you feel like giving up, do it tomorrow, because today we can do great things, if we put our minds to it!

Notice how the last part of the definition for gratitude talks about kindness? I will speak on that in my next post.

-Strive to become the best version of yourself!

I am your disease

“I am your disease” is a poem I was given my first day in rehabilitation. The poem helped me understand how sick this disease is,”cunning, baffling, powerful!” I underestimated my disease for many years. The poem helped me realize that I needed to be proactive to keep my disease at bay. It taught me I had to work hard everyday to suppress the disgusting disease I let take control of my life. We can take control over this sick disease, we just have to be proactive, productive, and positive. I hung this poem up on my wall to remind me the work I need to do everyday to keep my sanity. Below is a copy of the poem. I hope this can help someone understand the severity of their addiction and take control!

I am your disease

 

I HATE meetings! I HATE Higher Power! I HATE anyone who has a program!

To all who come in contact with me, I wish you Death and I wish you Suffering.

Allow me to introduce myself I am the disease of Alcoholism and Drug Addiction.

Cunning, baffling, and powerful.

That’s me, I have killed Millions and I’m pleased.

I love to Catch you with the element of surprise

I love pretending I am your fiend and lover.

I have given you comfort, have I not?

Wasn’t I there when you where lonely?

When you wanted to die, didn’t you call me?

I was there

I love to make you cry.

Better yet, I love to make you so numb you can either hurt or cry

You can’t feel anything at all.

This is true glory. I will give you instant gratification and all I ask of you is long-term suffering. I have been there for you always.

When things were going wrong in your life, you invited me. You said you didn’t deserve these good things, and I was the only one who could agree with you. Together we were able to destroy all the good things in your life.

People don’t take us seriously. They take strokes seriously, heart attacks, even diabetes they take seriously. Fools that they are, they don’t know that without my help these things would not be possible.

I am such a hated disease. Yet I do not come uninvited. You choose to have me. So many have chosen me over reality and peace.

More than you hate me, I hate all of you who have a 12-step program. Your program, your meetings, your Higher Power, all weaken me, I can’t function in a manner in which I am accustomed to. Now I must lie here quietly. You don’t see me, but I’m growing.

Bigger than ever, when you only exist, I may live. When you live I only exist. But I am here and until we meet again, if we meet again, I wish you death and suffering!

 

– Anonymous

 

This disease wants us to fail and it wants us dead! We can gain control over our addictions. The big question is how bad do you want to change your life?

 

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-Strive to become the best version of yourself!

 

 

Addiction Q&A

I have watched this video a few times throughout my journey. It’s a great video for those who have questions about addiction, love, consciousness, happiness, pleasures, and spirituality.

If you are having trouble with the first 5 steps of recovery Russell Brand breaks it down to its simplistic form on the video.

Russel Brand and Dr. Drew Q&A.

-Strive to become the best version of yourself!

Step Two

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“Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to Sanity.”

Sanity- The ability to think and behave in a normal and rational manner ;sound mental health, reasonable and rational behavior.

Just like in step one the second step came with a packet of questions to answer. I grew up Catholic, but I haven’t been to church in years. When I would pray, before I got into recovery, I would say these foxhole prayers. Which I have learned now is NOT the way to pray.  I don’t subscribe to any particular religion, but I do believe in a higher power, who I choose to call GOD. Step two for me was about reconnecting with my high power. The way I was able to reconnect with my higher power was through prayer, meditation, and nature. When I pray every morning I say thank you to God and I pray over my family and friends. I also ask that I live under Gods will, not my will.

What if you do not believe in a Higher Power? They say anything can be your higher power. Have you ever heard of the door knob as your Higher Power? If that works for you run with it! Find what you believe in. Nature, astrology, meditation, prayer, science, you can research all these topics which may help you find your Higher Power. If you are struggling with the HP concept read Chapter 4 of the Big Book, We Agnostics.

This is a quote from chapter 4 of the Big Book.

“At first some of us tried to avoid the issue, hoping against hope we were not true alcoholics. But after a while we had to face the fact that we must find a spiritual basis of life-or else. Perhaps it is going to be that way with you. But cheer up, something like half of us thought we were atheists or agnostic. Our experience shows that you need not be disconcerted.”

There is hope for anyone to find a Higher Power, you have to be willing,  honest, and open-minded. You have to be willing to seek change, be honest with yourself, others, and your Higher Power. Also, keep an open mind!

Below are the  questions I had to answer from my step two packet. I hope these questions will help people better understand step 2 and increase their conscious contact with a Higher Power.

How can I see a Higher power working in my life?

What characteristics does my Higher Power NOT have?

What characteristics does my Higher Power have?

Whats the point of step 2?

Can I believe that other alcoholics/addicts have found peace of mind through this process?

What is it precisely and in detail that I have worshiped?

What exactly have I experiences?

Am I willing to consider that I am not at the core of everything and hence there may be a power greater than any one of us?

Was I insane or crazy to believe the lies the alcohol/drugs told me?

In what areas of my life do I need sanity?

How does my childhood understanding of God affect my life and recovery today?

What are my grievances against a Higher Power?

What is the evidence that a Higher Power is working in my life?

How can I incorporate a Higher Power of some form into my recovery?

I hope this helped. Have a blessed Day!

Acceptance

“Acceptance simply means that you stop trying to deny your reality and you acknowledge it instead.”(Linehan 1993).

As I was reading about DBT, dialectical behavior therapy, I stumbled upon this quote.  All my adult life I denied my addiction for fear of being “labeled” an addict. That was the distorted reality I was living in. I cared more about what everyone was going to think, which prevented me from personal growth. I had to accept my reality, that I am an addict. I had to stop trying to alter my addiction into different forms and accept it for who I am. It’s when you surrender to this disease that the actual work begins. My name is V, and I’m an alcoholic! A link to preview the book on Amazon is listed below.

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A link to the book on Amazon: