Monthly Archives: June 2012

The Addictive Voice

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Well, as I knew it eventually would, my addictive voice, the voice in my head that tells me the answer for my problems is to use, came back.  It wanted a drink.

Work stresses, physical pain and that weird state of suspended animation I fall into where I feel I can’t really connect with anything, least of all myself, were the culprits.  The voice said, “You know how to make this all go away.  You know what will calm you and soothe your spirit and help you breathe again.  Just a few sips and all the world will be right.  A few sips could barely be called a slip.”

Oh, it was whispering its sweet nothings in my ear, attempting to seduce, promising relief from pain and care.  The usual hook.

I didn’t give in.  As a matter of fact I was never even very close to giving in to it because I’ve gotten real about the disease I have.  A lot of people don’t like that term, but if diabetes is a disease, even though it’s just as much a “choice” when the diabetic lifts the cupcake to their mouth as when the alcoholic lifts the drink, then alcoholism/addiction is a disease just as well.  But you don’t here people arguing about whether or not diabetes is a disease or a choice.  It’s a disease brought about by a predisposition of the body AND choice.  Everyone accepts that.  No problem.  In the case of Type I diabetes, there’s no choice involved at all and I think alcoholism/addiction is much the same.  For some there is no choice at all, and for some their choices will eventually lead to the manifestation of the disease process.  And for some, diabetes nor alcoholism/addiction will EVER happen even though they continually make the same poor choices as the diabetic and the alcoholic.  Their bodies are not predisposed.

I don’t know.  It seems fairly simple and straightforward to me now that I’ve re-educated myself.  We like to make things complicated.

When I see my disease for what it is:  chronic, progressive, and fatal if left untreated, without all the bullshit about a morally defective character, then I can begin to make informed, good choices.  Then I can hear the addictive voice for what it is:  a dying part of the disease that is being treated.  The treatment?  Don’t drink or use no matter what.  Simple.

Thank you for visiting Eclectic Recovery.

 

 

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Peer-to-Peer Support

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Peer to peer support may not be essential for everyone trying to get and stay sober, but for me, and I think for most, it is a very important aspect of maintaining sobriety.  It seems to be one of the things that’s most helpful about AA for people who are able to use that program.  It was vital in helping me attain six year’s of sobriety in the early 90’s and it’s invaluable as I move forward in my new recovery.

What makes good peer-to-peer support?  First, you must be able to relate to your peers.  For many of us, that makes AA basically useless for the purpose.  True, as addicts trying to recover, we can all relate to the misery and hopelessness that the addiction creates in our lives.  But what about relating to the new lives we’re trying to build?  Is it helpful for someone who doesn’t believe in a higher power to be told to memorize christian-oriented prayers?  Is it helpful for people who have never developed a healthy ego to be told to focus on character defects as a means to sobriety?

It amazes me that people are still being told that AA is THE way.  It amazes me how many times I have been shut out, told I’m in denial, and been offered absolutely nothing else that might be helpful.  If an addict seeking recovery says AA doesn’t work for them, they should be listened to and helped in finding what will work.  No wonder so many give up before they’ve even gotten started.

There are viable alternatives out there, but until the treatment industry decides to quit being lazy and uninformed, most people will continue to be offered a maintenance program that is at best unhelpful and at worst downright damaging.

Most treatment professionals are less well-read than I am on their subject.  Why?  Because a majority of them got sober through AA and are part of what has become a very dysfunctional system.  They honestly believe that there is something magical about the AA program and that if an addict doesn’t get it, it’s their fault.

If we want good peer-to-peer support, we’ve got to make it available ourselves.

Thank you for visiting Eclectic Recovery.

 

New Stories

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82 days ago I started telling myself a new story.  I began my story with the firm statement that I will not drink or use no matter what.  I repeat this statement to myself daily, sometimes several times a day, in writing and out loud.  I haven’t had a compulsion to drink or use and maybe my statement is part of the reason why.  Maybe I really am just finally sick and tired of being sick and tired.

No matter.  It’s working.

I ran to an AA meeting because it was the only place I knew people would understand and I’m glad AA and the meeting were there.  I thought maybe my new story would be one of returning to that fold and it finally working for me.  But in about 3 weeks of daily meetings and talking with a sponsor,  I knew in my heart this was not to be the case and I am finally alright with it.  When I think of the rest of my life in AA all I see is grey.  My new story is vibrantly colored – alive with magenta, violet, gold, chartreusse, indigo, fuschia.  It is a very bright impressionist painting or an exploding nebula.  It’s Venus dancing across the face of the Sun.

I’ve been making good use of some of Charlotte Kasl’s 16 steps to empowerment, but I don’t know if that will be my story either.   Charlotte’s steps appeal to me a lot more than AA’s twelve, but in some ways it just feels like the same old story in a different outfit.

I’m after a brand new story.  One that is not numbered 1-12 or 1-16 or 1, 2, 3.  I’ts a circular story and so far it consists of this:

I don’t drink or use no matter what.

I believe nothing.  I entertain all possibilities.

I don’t drink or use no matter what.

I connect with other sober people in any venue.

I don’t drink or use no matter what.

I follow anything that feels life-giving, affirmative, empowering, rich and fun.

I don’t drink or use no matter what.

As you can see, this is not necessarily a “we” program (gasp!andgodstrikemedown!).

Thank you for visiting Eclectic Recovery.

 

Venus Dreams

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We’re living in a time of revolution.  Nothing is more reflective of this time than Venus’ transit of the Sun today.  The goddess of beauty and love will infuse the male energy of the Sun with the grace necessary to bring forth manifestation of our deepest desires.

Venus if a very important planet and goddess in my life.  As a first-house 5-planet Scorpio, Venus on my ascendent is the saving grace of what has otherwise been a rather difficult chart to live out.  She’s having a long sit-down with my 5th house Chiron right now and because I’m sober, I’m able to work with this energy in a powerful and positive way.

Chiron instructs that wherever lie our deepest wounds, there also lies our salvation.  Addiction is the defining issue of my life.  I have absolutely no business being alive today; no business being sober; no business being happy and excited about sobriety.

My time sober since my last drink, 81 days, is not indicative of all that I’ve learned in the past 18 years of strivng for a lasting sobriety, getting sober and then relapsing again, learning more, trying something else.  It’s not indicative of the 6 years of sobriety I had from 1988-1994 – good sober years but in a program not suitable for me, a program I had no desire to return to, a program that left me with no life raft when my addiction was reawakened.

I have this crazy dream.  I have this dream that when an addict desires sobriety, there is a meeting in every city of a program suitable for that particular addict.  There is a Lifering meeting for those who have no need of steps or a higher power.  There is a 16-step meeting for those like me, who need to build a healthy ego and empower themselves; there is a spiral step meeting for pagans and other nature-based spiritualists.  There are meetings I can’t begin to imagine now because they haven’t been created yet.

If there’s one thing in the entire world I’m absolutely sure of it’s the creative genius of most addicts.  It’s time for this genius to be unleased, to create new forms, new programs, new meetings.  It’s time for us to follow the lead of Bill Wilson, Charlotte Kasl, Martin Nicolaus, and Renee Bledsoe and get interested in our own recoveries.  It’s time to be unflinchingly honest about what does and does not work for us individually, for us to know what we know, see what we see, and feel what we feel.

It’s time for us to be committed to each other rather than to a particular form.

I’m willing now to back up my crazy dream with commitment.  By this day next year, not only will I have one year and 81 day’s continuously clean and sober, there will be a Lifering and a 16-step empowerment meeting in my town.  I’d also love to see an Addiction Alchemy model available here.  With Venus as my grace, guide and witness, so let it be written, so let it be done.

Woo Hoo!!!

 

Here comes the PAWS

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I’m approaching what I’ve heard described as “the wall” in recovery.  I have relapsed numerous times around the 3-4 month mark.  It seems to be when the post-acute-withdrawal syndrome reaches a peak and my brain and body seek relief at any cost.

This time I’m not going to let it happen.  If I have to go check myself into a treatment center to avoid it, I will.  If I have to lock myself up in the house, I will.  If I have to have my partner watch me every minute of the day, I will.  I am not going to drink or use NO MATTER WHAT!

That said, and while the symptoms are still manageable, I’m going to take some steps that I think will help.  Oddly enough, foodie that I am, consistently eating well has been a challenge as has been getting exercise.  But I think these things will help tremendously with the PAWS so I’m going to start focusing my efforts on those things.

Part of the problem is that I’ve been trying to attend as many meetings as I can and between work, and then being tired from work, it leaves little time or energy for cooking and exercise.  My main meeting is the aftercare group on Thursdays and I will definitely continue to attend there regularly.  But I’m going to give myself a break on the AA meetings.  The truth is I don’t get very much out of the meetings, and while I still plan to attend, I’m no longer going to push myself to attend.

Also, I’ve made an appointment with my psych doc and my therapist.  My next big task is to quit smoking and I want to revisit the medications that I’m on with the possibility of going on Wellbutrin to help with the smoking as well as seeing if there’s anything safe that might help with the PAWS.

77 days today.  Thank you for visiting Eclectic Recovery.