Category Archives: Keepers

Keeper of the Month – July

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.

perseverance

This month’s post, reflecting on a different sort of life-changing anniversary, comes from Craig W.:

 

I’ve been sober since 2001, but yesterday marked the 8 year anniversary of the second most important event in my life in the current millennium — I had a stroke. My recovery was almost complete, but not a day goes by when I’m not aware that “almost” is not at all the same as “complete.’ I spent five weeks in a hospital and nursing home learning how to walk again — I hadn’t lost strength in my limbs but my balance had been strongly affected. It’s still less than perfect. I lost a little feeling on my right side but not enough to make much difference. The main difficulty that has stayed with me is something called “post-stroke fatigue,” a rather mysterious tiredness that plagues many stroke survivors. The condition isn’t related to the location of the stroke and doesn’t seem to be related to the seriousness of the stroke. It means I’m tired all the time and very tired some of the time. It’s pretty unrelated to the amount of sleep I get, so I try not to give in to it too much. But it’s why I retired early.

For a long time I thought the fatigue was the only “cognitive” impact of my stroke. But I’ve learned in recent years that the tiredness is part of a larger mental syndrome in which certain types of mental tasks are very draining, while physical activity is actually refreshing. The most draining seems to be multitasking, jumping from one thing to another back and forth. That was the essence of my job as a bookseller — dealing with customers at the counter and on the phone, paying bills, preparing orders and a bunch of other stuff all at the same time. I was good at that until the stroke. I wasn’t bad at it after my stroke, for that matter. Except that it exhausted me after a couple of hours.

So I retired a couple of years early and after about a week started climbing the walls. I’d had my bookstore as the focus of my life for 40 years. I never put in the sort of hours that many small business owners do, but it was always on my mind. Replacing it with …. nothing soon horrified me. Which is how I found myself coming down to the San Francisco Bay Area to volunteer for LifeRing. It has been an almost perfect solution to my retirement dilemma. There’s more to do than I can do, so I never feel purposeless, and yet as a volunteer I decide entirely by myself how much to do each day, which allows me to make full allowance for my tiredness problem. And the weather down here is so …. different (I was going to say “better” but one shouldn’t make those sorts of value judgements) that I can spend at least an hour each day walking in the warm sunshine, something that was a rare occurrence up in the Pacific Northwest.

There’s a point to this story for addicts like us. My stroke happened well after I got sober and the cause was unknown. But I figure it was all those years of ignoring my high blood pressure while I was drinking. For me, there was no escaping the consequences of my years of imbibing. But the other point is more positive — I changed my entire life after age 60, moving, doing work I’d never done before in a place I’d only visited briefly. I realized when I retired, I could afford (doG bless Social Security) to live almost anywhere and do almost anything (anything that wasn’t too expensive, at least). Sobriety gave me this new life.It’s so easy to feel trapped by life, by addiction or a bad marriage or lack of money or health problems, or …. But I’m here to tell you that everything can be changed for the better, and it all starts with sobriety. It starts with facing reality and fixing what’s wrong with our lives and nothing is more ‘wrong’ than addictive drinking or using. Fix that and move on to the next thing on your list.

Be patient, but persevere.

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.

Moderation

This month’s post, from a discussion regarding the possibility of moderation, is contributed by group member Chris C.:

When I was in rehab my counselor asked me if my wife drank. When I replied in the affirmative, she asked if my wife was an alcoholic. When I replied in the negative, she asked why not? This is the story I told:

As a rule, I am not a white wine drinker. My wife is, though, and we always have a couple of bottles in the fridge. My wife opens a bottle of white wine and pours herself a glass. She sips on it for a couple hours. When she finishes the first glass, she’s usually done. If she pours a second, almost inevitably, she takes a couple sips, decides she didn’t want a second glass after all, and pours the rest back in the bottle. She corks it and puts it back in the fridge. She promptly forgets about it. She might use some of it in cooking, but by the time she decides to pour another glass from that bottle, one of two other things has happened. It’s either turned to vinegar or, despite the fact I am not a white wine drinker, it’s gone because I drank it.

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Keeper of the Month

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.

irreconciliable differencesThis month’s post, “Irreconcilable Differences”,  is contributed by group member Rich C.:

Alcohol:  Hey, sweetie, it’s been a while.  Have you missed me?  Did you get my messages, and my texts?

Me: I suppose I sort of missed you, but that’s not why I called.  I have news for you.

Alcohol: Can I come over?  Can you tell me in person?

Me:  Uh, not really.  I prefer that we keep our distance.  The news is that I want a divorce.

Alcohol:  A divorce?  What about our vows?

Me:  That’s just it.  I don’t even remember our wedding.  We were hanging out a lot, and next thing I know you’re wearing this ridiculously expensive ring, my bank account’s gone, and I have no recollection of anything.

Alcohol:  Well, darling, I do recall.  As you know, when we make love I do what I can to erase any memories of our intimacies, and other stuff.

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A LifeRing Keeper: Lessons Learned After 7 Months of Sobriety

Below is a recent post to one of LifeRing’s email groups, written by a member expressing her great pleasure at reaching 7 months of continuous sobriety. It contains much wisdom that I wanted to share. It speaks both to those new to recovery and to veterans. — Craig Whalley

7 months soberHello all.  Altho I don’t post often, I read every day. But I did want to mention some things I’ve noticed in myself now that I’ve been sober for a little over seven months…

*Boy, do the cravings tone down after those first 90 days (just like folks said). Now, I seldom ever think about drinking, whether at home alone (my old favorite) or out at dinner or wherever.

*Recognizing the “Addict” voice as separate from the real, sober self is a great help. It can be so sneaky and comes at you in different ways when it thinks you are not looking. These thoughts are not cravings, (READ MORE…)

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A LifeRing Keeper: Getting and Staying Sober

This was posted recently on a LifeRing Email group by a longtime member:

In a nutshell, my sobriety support group is LifeRing Secular Recovery.
– the bottom line is to not drink or otherwise use- no matter what
– we believe we have all the power over our addiction as long as we do not drink or use
– whatever it takes to not drink or use is what we are about
For some of us it is about clean sheets after a difficult day.  For some of us it is about reading everything we can about the science of addiction.  Many of us feel that physical and social activity is very important.  A great number of us need face to face support.
If we don’t live in the Bay area or in the other spots that LifeRing (LSR)  meetings are available; face to face meetings means SMART, SOS, Rational Recovery, WFS (if a woman), or a 12 step program such as AA/NA.  If you know of any other options, please let us know.
If any of us need face to face support and a 12 step program is what is all that is available nearby, please support that tool.  All tools do not work for everyone.  Our goal here is to Not Drink or Use NO MATTER WHAT.  Our email group is to encourage our sober selves.
Please respect the choices each of make to DND (or use) NMW.  Please do not put down the options that any of us need.
I have never taken Antabuse, but some have used it with great success; at age 62 I have attended less than 5 AA meetings; I do not read much about addiction (I found this to be a trigger for me), and I do believe in the power of clean sheets.  I respect and often learn from others sober tools.
Be kind, accepting, and go to be bed sober tonight.