Category Archives: Keepers

Keeper of the Month – November

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.

Recovery Is A Process

 

This month’s Keeper is contributed by list member Scot S., who came to understand that recovery doesn’t ‘just happen’ to any of us:

I believe strongly that we each need to find our own path, that there is no magic that is going to work for everyone, and that what works for one person may not work for another. But I also believe that we can glean helpful ideas, motivation, support and inspiration from others, which is the essential purpose of the LSRSafe list as I understand it. That being said, there is one thing that I believe each and every successful person in the sobriety journey, or any journey, has in common:

And that is persistence. To never stop trying. To get up when you fail and start again. And then after some sober days, failure starts to turn into disappointment. And then more sober days, and then disappointment is replaced by a mistake, and then a mistake is replaced by a lesson, and then one day you start to reflect on why your drinking rather than the fact that your drinking. And you analyze why. And then you realize that rather than feeling sorry for yourself and saying why me, and getting down on yourself, that it is you yourself that is causing the problems and that you yourself are responsible for the state of your life and all the undesirable things that are happening to you. And then you accept that the one thing you can control, and the one thing that is the underlying root cause of most all your problems, is drinking. And then you realize that you no longer WANT to drink again, rather than thinking that you can’t, and you start to focus on all the positive elements of sobriety. And then you smile. And then you say to yourself – I get it. I’m done.

For me, this process has taken years. I first wrote this post roughly 1 ½ years ago, and promptly relapsed a month later, and it is only within the last couple months that I again found myself in the same mindset. So, clearly, I do not claim to have all the answers. Yet, as painful, frustrating, discouraging and hard as it has been, I never quit trying. And I kept building up sober days, even though there were not long stretches of time where I was totally sober. And because of that my depression started to leave, my clarity returned. My motivation and energy increased, and I let myself believe, truly believe, that I could do it and that I wanted to do it – to never drink again, no matter what. There were many other sub-components, such as the LSRSafe list, books (both on recovery and cognitive behavior), spiritual growth, exercise, friends and family, changes in lifestyle, my penny jar, meditation, self therapy, change in career, making my sobriety a priority, etc., but I credit my persistence and building those sober days as the number one factor for my success.

I am so incredibly thankful for my sobriety and all the wonderful things that come with sobriety. There are no benefits to drinking – it is all an illusion. Conversely, the benefits to sobriety are endless.

~~~

Loneliness vs aloneness

Especially early in sobriety, people may struggle with personal relationships.

Marriages or other long-term relationships may seem more fragile, whether due to raw emotions from early sobriety, or a relationship in which both partners had been drinking or using, and only one is now trying to quit.

While I don’t believe in a hard and fast rule, preached elsewhere, about making no major life changes in one’s first year of sobriety, there is some general value to the spirit of that as an idea.

So, that leaves dealing with loneliness, either from a relationship gone astray, or not having one.

Well, it means dealing with what is perceived as loneliness. And, that can include — and should include, as I see it — learning the difference between “loneliness” and “aloneness.”

We are all going to be alone at times in our life.

We’re also going to feel lonely at times in our life even when in the midst of a host of other people. Related to that, we may also feel alone, but yet not lonely, in the midst of one of those hordes.

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Keeper of the Month – October

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.

Goethe Quote

This month’s Keeper is contributed by group member Chris E., who has found important new ways to cope with stress:

It’s the end of my work week, it was very challenging. Working in an ER environment there is consistent emergencies all day but this week several things went wrong, myself and my co-workers were really affected. Transitioning into the weekend has been a major point of relapse, there’s yelling, fighting police radios and blood at work and then I come home to quiet but my head is still full.

Meditation is a very helpful tool, followed by dogs, followed by food, a good book and a good sleep. Alcohol is a false promise, drinking after work just gets me drunk, screws up my sleep, gets me dehydrated, hung over and depressed. I’m going to continue to reinforce these facts so every Thursday I can look at this transition as something that I know exactly how to handle. There is nothing like going to bed sober and walking up without a hangover.

~~~

Keeper of the Month – August

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.

easiest-things

For many of us, myself included, the process getting and staying clean and sober takes several tries, sometimes over a long period of time, and one tends to be of two minds about their drug of choice before and during this period. It can be a frustrating and infuriating cycle, but it can’t be glossed over or ignored, both because it’s the reality of living with addiction and because it’s part of the process of becoming free from it. 

This month’s post, from a discussion about this vicious cycle, is from group member Ewa C., who is now sober:

 

I go through these things too…perfectly fine until for some reason i go on a rampage…with days lost from work, the shakes, feeling suicidal, unable to think clearly…Although this has been happening much less frequently.

Aside from that I am often just a so-called “functional alcoholic”…low key, just a couple of drinks at the end of a prolonged and stressful day… which is every day in my line of work.

And I know that is not an excuse. I don’t drink because i’m stressed I drink cuz I think I still love it, and after I’ve had a drink or two I’m so bored with it that I drink the rest just cuz I’m bored and want to go to sleep.

Go figure.

I am sick of this as i can see you are… I’ve been trying for YEARS to get right and still here I am, negotiating with my alcoholic self vs. my real self who is quite a nice woman.

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.