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Headspace Update Numero Uno

Those of you who read the blog regularly (and even those of you who don’t) may remember that I posted an item about Headspace a while back, and since I’ve found already that it’s made a difference for me I thought I’d follow up to tell you how my first 10 days of meditation went (cuz, uh, you’re really very curious…right?!), and also to invite any of you who may have tried it yourselves, or would like to try a meditation practice of your choosing, to join me on this new journey.

With that:

  • My first impressions were of how uncomfortable I was physically throughout the first several sessions – fidgeting, shifting positions in the chair I was sitting in, continuously getting various itches I just had to scratch.
  • Sometimes the discomfort had to do with my overall being on certain days, a general ooginess that made it a little harder to focus. Skeptical as I was, I decided to believe it when Andy, my smooth and soothing guide, told me that that was OK.
  • As time went on, I found it much easier to participate without all the ooginess, and more importantly, I found toward the end of the 10 days that I’d gained some clarity on a particular issue I’d been feeling so guilty and regretful over for, oh, about the past year and a half – all the stuff of my Mimsy’s that I didn’t keep I wish I had. “Much as you might have liked to, you can’t take it all with you – which is why you decided not to to begin with! – and neither could she,” I heard the better part of myself tell me, and for the first time felt some peace with it.

Now, I’m not sure if that’s all due to the meditation or not…but I still felt compelled to move forward with it anyway, and went ahead and subscribed to a year’s worth of Headspace. It’ll cost me $7.99 a month, less the sign up bonus of the first two months free, making the grand total $79.90. A year’s worth of potential mental health and well-being for less than 100 bucks a year?



Keeper of the Month – January

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.

Strength Grows


 This month’s Keeper is contributed by a wise and wonderful long time LifeRing e-mail list member with over a dozen years of sobriety talking about what she does to keep herself on an even keel, while navigating a busy and sometimes stressful but rewarding life, during a discussion about avoiding relapse:

…the relapse talk is really useful to me. I think as we stay sober for longer we need another kind of maintenance perhaps, or maybe just to keep up the maintenance ?

I’m sober longer than I ever considered starting out. My life has changed so much. I’ve grown and become more competent, more brave, and in many ways more true to myself. I mean, I feel defeated by Ph.D rejections! But I always thought I would never even be capable or want to attempt it because I would then have to teach. Something I considered so terrifyingly beyond me, and I’m teaching and loving it. I forget sometimes to consider these kinds of things.

I move in new circles and I do often feel like a strong cool sober woman but also sometimes like a weird marginalized wanna be. Sometimes I embrace that and think it’s ok to not really fit in and other times I suffer.

If I don’t remember my drinking history and how terrible everything could get – I may start thinking I’m the kind of cool sober woman who can drink sometimes to take the pressure off, to fit in, to celebrate like those around me, or to hide away in my old hole of fear and pain.

It’s actually hard to navigate. I can do so much more now, but I am still a person who feels stress in ways that can really damage me and over things that surprise some people. On the other hand, I can live with some variations of chaos and pressure that others regard as impossible. I think because I remember how crazy it and I used to be.

It’s hard to be strong and fragile at the same time. But I think it’s often the case for people in recovery, and also it seems many tend to take on too much at once when we find we gain strength. I have done it so many times! But I have also done very little at times. It’s hard to balance too little and too much and I find I manage it better when I’m in touch with sober support. It helps me keep perspective – or at least get it back when I lose it.  😕

Shit this is a ramble – I’m really worn out. I had exams this week and yesterday and today I’ve been feeling really tired but my head was spinning and I felt a little manic in my thoughts. Intense and speedy and exhausted. I got some time alone this evening and turned to Netflix – I feel like its safe to meet the world tomorrow. 🙂


Keeper of the Month – December

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.

With Everything That Has Happened


This month’s Keeper is contributed by list member Mary S., who has some wise words to share about how she handles the Ghost of Christmas Present. Even if you don’t celebrate Christmas (or any other of the holidays around this time of year), it’s still an unavoidable part of our culture that has the power to pose challenges to us all; Mary poses simple but important questions at the end of her post, which you’re most welcome to share your answers to in the comments! Read on:

I love Christmas, but because my life has changed so dramatically, I have to be extra vigilant. I was a daily drinker, and therefore tend to neglect to talk about or plan strategies for navigating seasonal minefields.  But since I cherish sobriety above all else, I don’t take chances.  For example, I never take punch unless I’m positive it’s alcohol-free.  Fruitcakes, rum balls, foil-wrapped chocolates–fergetaboutem!  When I walk into a setting where alcohol will be present, I make sure I go on a full stomach–not filled with “pub” food, but with a protein such as peanut butter, cheese, etc.  And because I refuse to perpetuate the drinking ritual, I don’t engage in “pretend” drinking, i.e. drinking out of stemmed glasses, etc.  One of my “bibles” with regard to food is Liz Scott’s “The Sober Kitchen”.  She gives many wonderful alternatives to cooking with alcohol, and de-bunks the myth that alcohol burns off in the cooking process.
But beyond the minefields, I have to take measures to be sure my head is in the right place.  I can’t draw on Christmases past, whether positive or negative, to create Christmas in the present tense.  I have to watch my self-talk.  If I say things such as “the holidays depress me”, I will ensure myself of misery.  Many of us have been conditioned to believe that at this season, everything that feels empty will be filled; that everything that is dark within, will be illuminated.  So how do I overcome this funk, and use it as an opportunity to grow in recovery?  For me, it’s making a conscious effort to come out of self.  It could mean contributing to a toy drive, volunteering time, or even visiting someone who’s in the psych ward because of addiction.  Sometimes this requires overcoming shyness, or worse yet, a sense that we have nothing to give.  I’m not talking about a Pollyanna positivity, but a powerful life-changing resolve.  With our thoughts and words, we become victims or creators of our own reality.
In early recovery, sometimes we have all we can do to get our heads around the concept of abstinence, and then work toward coming to a place of acceptance.  That’s great, and I don’t believe in rushing the process.  However, sustainable recovery means that I have to slowly work on all the other stuff, and to utterly let go of everything that no longer serves me.  With regard to Christmas, it means that I have to consciously let go of my neediness, of my expectations of others, etc. etc.
What about you?  Does the prospect of the holidays fill you with joy? With dread?   
A peaceful, sober day to all!

What We Talk About When We Talk About Thanksgiving…



Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, and whoever you are with, if you don’t know anything else, please know this: I’m thankful for all of you! Wishing you all the best, today and everyday. Oh, and if you have something especially tasty to eat, that’s always nice, too. 🙂

Calling For Stories of Secular Recovery

Call for Submissions: Stories of Secular Recovery
Recovery stories provide evidence that freedom from addiction is possible. In early 2016, LifeRing Secular Recovery plans to publish a collection of recovery stories that have been shaped by secular tools, practices, and concepts. If you are in recovery from addiction to alcohol or other drugs, and your recovery is supported in a secular way, LifeRing Press wants to hear from you.
We hope our volume will represent many kinds of personal experiences and viewpoints with stories authored by a wide variety of individuals who are in recovery from alcohol or any other addictive drug.  We seek stories from all members of the secular recovery community — a community we know is filled with interesting people of diverse backgrounds and circumstances. We hope our volume will represent both a variety of secular recovery experiences and the diversity of the secular recovery community.  And we hope our volume will provide both evidence and inspiration that it is, indeed, possible to achieve and maintain sobriety using secular tools, practices, and concepts.
While the traditional structure of conflict (the struggle between our addicted and sober selves), crisis and turning point (what made us decide to seek freedom from addiction), and resolution (living in recovery) fits most recovery stories, we also seek stories with innovative structures.  In short, we want real stories of real recoveries, and encourage you to share your story, warts and all, with authenticity, passion, and a sense that your story has the possibility to change lives.
·               What was it that finally made you decide to get clean and sober?
·               Can you describe the kind of decision-making process you went through?
·               What tools, practices, and concepts helped you achieve sobriety?
·               Do you still use those same tools, or have they evolved or changed over time?
·               What gives meaning to your life in recovery?
Whether you achieved sobriety on your own or through your participation in secular recovery organizations like LifeRing, SMART Recovery, AA Agnostica, or Women for Sobriety, your story of secular recovery is important. We look forward to hearing from you. Please read our submission guidelines carefully, and feel free to contact us with any questions.
Submission Guidelines:
All submissions must include a cover sheet with the title of the piece; the author’s name, address, telephone number, and email address; and a brief bio of the author. 
Please use 12-point type (Arial or Times New Roman preferred).  Traditional essay or story entries should be double spaced; poetry should be single spaced. Pages should be sequentially numbered, with the title of the piece but no other identifying information about the author; this will ensure unbiased review by our panel of readers.  We encourage submissions of poetry; micro-essays (no more than 1,000 words); essays (1,000-2,500 words) and longer works (5,000 word maximum).
Entries selected for publication are subject to editing; the LifeRing Press editors will work with authors on the final edits and ensure that the author’s name appears as you wish in the final publication.
We prefer electronic submission of your entry, and that it be in one of the following file formats: .doc, .docx, .pdf or .pages.  You will receive an email confirming receipt of your entry.
All submissions must be previously unpublished work; all rights for future publication of selected entries will be held by LifeRing Press. Authors of stories selected for publication in this volume will receive a free copy of the book; no other payment will be made.
To submit your work electronically, please email it to:
If you must submit your work by postal service, please mail it to:  LifeRing Service Center, 1440 Broadway, Suite 400, Oakland, CA 94612. 
If you have questions about the volume, the submission guidelines, or submitting a story for publication, please email Kathleen at
Submission deadline: July 1, 2015  Entries received after this date cannot be considered for publication.