Category Archives: Keepers

Keeper of the Month – June

Lifering’s e-mail groups are active, thriving communities of people who use them as strong sources of sobriety support, and many members often post remarkably written sources of inspiration, hope and encouragement that many other group members call “Keepers” – posts that they save for themselves so they can go back and look at them as often as they like.

We here at LifeRing like sharing these posts, with the authors’ permission, on our blog so that everyone can enjoy them as much as our group members do.

REMEMBER its just a bad day

This month’s post is contributed by group member Dennis M., who touches on a concept many of us discover somewhere in early recovery, sometimes much to our chagrin: Life doesn’t stop just because we got clean and sober (aka “The definition of SOBER: Son of a bitch, everything’s real!):

I’ve been thinking, and that can be a challenging task for me.

I had a tough day at work yesterday (way too much uncomfortable, guarded face-to-face social interaction) and then this morning at home I had some plumbing and cable problems and was pissed that so many annoying things keep happening even though I have been on my best sober behavior for some time now.  WTF?

I can be shallow and self-absorbed sometimes and this morning I was all that and more. Then I started thinking…. who the hell am I to think that life will magically reform itself just because I have quit drinking and using? I am not the center around which all things revolve.  As it turns out, my life has gotten easier, my skin fits better but not because the world is doing me a favor because I am “special”.  It’s because I can deal with most problems effectively when sober. And my problems are teeny tiny, real small stuff compared to so many.

I am not special.  I am sober.  I can play the hand I’m dealt without too much complaint.  Being sober has made that possible.   And that is way too important to forget.

It has not, however, changed the way the world spins nor have I undergone some kind of personality metamorphosis.  I can still be selfish and ungrateful.  I’m not special, I’m human.  But, I don’t drink or drug.  And, for me, that was and remains the goal. 

~~

Keeper of the Month – May

Lifering’s e-mail groups are active, thriving communities of people who use them as strong sources of sobriety support, and many members often post remarkably written sources of inspiration, hope and encouragement that many other group members call “Keepers” – posts that they save for themselves so they can go back and look at them as often as they like.

We here at LifeRing like sharing these posts, with the authors’ permission, on our blog so that everyone can enjoy them as much as our group members do.

It Takes Courage

The words we choose to express ourselves with in our groups are not always our own – sometimes they’re poems, quotes, or excerpts from books and other sources that speak truths about recovery to us such that we then share with one another. They very often spark deep conversations, and are almost always well-received .

Here are two wonderful examples recently shared by fellow LifeRingers:

“When I took the leap and left the fence,
there was a brief period of free-fall and a slightly lumpy landing.
Since then, the decision having been made, with no thought of going back,
life has gotten better, and better, and better.
There is nothing like real freedom.
If you’ve taken the leap–welcome! Welcome to the beginning of the rest of your life!”
– Coby S.
 
“I don’t perceive reality perfectly, and I don’t know everything.  In fact, I know only a tiny fragment of the knowable things.  And I filter my perceptions through my expectations and wishes – filters that are often distorted.  Listening to other people gives me a reality check. It gives me a clue about whether I’m overthinking or under thinking, overreacting or underreacting, being self-absorbed or not taking enough care of myself….And it gives me a clue about whether I’m doing none of those things and am doing just fine.”
– Greta Christina
~~

Keeper of the Month – April

Lifering’s e-mail groups are active, thriving communities of people who use them as strong sources of sobriety support, and many members often post remarkably written sources of inspiration, hope and encouragement that many other group members call “Keepers” – posts that they save for themselves so they can go back and look at them as often as they like.

We here at LifeRing like sharing these posts, with the authors’ permission, on our Blog so that everyone can enjoy them as much as our group members do.

  You gotta do what you have to do

LifeRing’s major mission is helping addicts learn to practice “The Sobriety Priority“, which means making recovery the most important thing in one’s life. When done, everything one does or doesn’t do thereafter involves considering the impact upon their recovery, and making self-care and life decisions based upon those principles.

Sometimes people in early recovery have a difficult time wrapping their minds around what, exactly, this means or why it’s necessary. This month’s Keeper is a LifeRing “old timer” answering those very questions posed by a newcomer:

 

From my point of view, sobriety is about learning how to live life, in whatever permutation you choose it to take. The thing about it that’s always appealed to me is the very possibility of that, whereas when I was drinking alcohol my choices were extremely limited, usually to more of it, and less of pretty much everything else.

Most active alcoholics, contrary to popular belief, are able to hold down jobs, mortgages, marriages and families, hobbies and almost all other vestiges of daily life precisely because they smack of “normalcy”, and allow the drinker to point out to themselves and everyone else that, since they’re not sitting underneath a bridge somewhere, swilling things out of brown paper sacks (or some other horrific fate worse than death), then they must be OK.

Some are more or less successful at this depending upon to what degree they are willing to work to maintain operating under the illusion that they’re running the show, while shackled in chains.

When you sober up, one thing that happens almost immediately is that you begin to notice the detritus left scattered about from your own personal, slow-motion train wreck, all of which was generally observable the entire time, only you were too drunk to notice or care. Without the blinders of alcohol, it can seem overwhelming.

The part of your brain that’s responsible for the whole thing, conveniently, thinks the solution to seeing the light of day is to put the blinders back on, and carry on with the chief fallacy of every addict’s life–“You can’t deal with all this! It’s not a good time, not a good time at all. You’ve got this (insert adjective of importance here) to do right now, and once that happens, then you can think aboutquitting drinking. How about we wait and pencil it in for next Thursday?”

It seems, to me, that the real key to freedom, to life, is learning how to sort out the truth from the lies–reality versus illusion–and what of either we choose to believe. The reality is, the rest of your life can be a long time, but it won’t happen next Thursday, after the illusion of some other self-imposed condition has been improbably met. It begins when you begin it, and it continues if you sustain and build on what you’ve begun.

Since life is not an instant but begins (and ends) in them, and instants become moments, and moments unfold into days, all you can do is take them as they come; some days are better than others, but through continuous practice – and yes, some monumental effort – and often to your own amazement, you realize you’re able to point your life in the direction you want it to go for the simple reason that you’re finally able to lift your aim that high.

You may not find that out for a while, but there’s plenty of time for it, and anything else you’d like, if you’re willing to give it to yourself.

~~

 

 

 

Keeper of the Month – March

Lifering’s e-mail groups are active, thriving communities of people who use them as strong sources of sobriety support, and many members often post remarkably written sources of inspiration, hope and encouragement that many other group members call “Keepers” – posts that they save for themselves so they can go back and look at them as often as they like.

We here at LifeRing like sharing these posts, with the authors’ permission, on our Blog so that everyone can enjoy them as much as our group members do.

 

Keep Calm

 

In keeping with our recent “Essential Recovery Toolkit”, here is an example of what one delightful member of LifeRing’s list community, Angela Nolan, shared about emphasizing relaxation as part of her toolkit:

I am reading a book called (warning, cliche’ ahead!) “I Want to Change My Life:  How to Overcome Anxiety, Depression, and Addiction” by Stephen M. Melemis, Ph.D., M.D.  The first part of the book is all about learning to relax and using the breath and the body to relax the mind.  I have been doing some of the exercises daily and one of them is our own dear Jane’s deep belly breathing.  :)  Should’ve known.

Anyway, below is a quote from the book and I am finding it very helpful.  I’ve been through a lot, especially in the past few years, and my drinking didn’t help, but only extremely aggravated all of it.  I realize that one of my big problems/triggers is letting stress get to me and I have been through the most serious stress since the surgery.

I’ve been sober again two weeks (and finished the klonopin taper 3 days ago) and by practicing relaxation, I think I’ve made it a lot easier on myself.  Not only that, but I think if I keep these good practices going, they could lead me into the sobriety that is going to sustain me for the rest of my life.

Quote from the book:  

“When you are tense, you blur the line between what happens around you and what you feel inside. When you’re tense, it feels as if things are happening to you instead of happening around you. Therefore you try to control them. It feels like people are going out of their way to irritate. But when you’re relaxed, you see things as simply happening, which makes it easier to let them go. Learning to relax doesn’t make you passive. It is efficient . Mind-body relaxation doesn’t involve letting go of what’s important. You learn how to let go of what’s holding you back.”

Here’s to all of us letting go of what’s holding us back.

~~

 

 

The Essential Recovery Toolkit

Leonard Nimoy Quote 2

 

Hi Everyone,

Since I’ve been fiddling around while Rome burns (i.e. working very, very, slowly on new blog pieces), I’d like to direct you to a new page placed on our website today that, in my humble opinion, is truly the most remarkable collection of recovery toolkits I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading.

Made up of real tools contributed by LifeRing members, including links to LifeRing-related tools here at lifering.org, it’s the perfect starting place for newcomers, go-to for those in early recovery, and a great refresher for those long-timers who can use one.

Please have a look-see at it here:

LifeRing Recovery Toolkit

Enjoy!

:) Bobbi C.