Tag Archives: keepers

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. :)

~~~

On Counting Sober Time

countingA member of the LifeRing board of directors writes about the issue of ‘counting the days’ since one’s last use of alcohol or other drug:

It was helpful for me to tally the years from birth to about 35 and include them in my sober time, an idea I kind of gleaned (perhaps taking some liberties with the intended concept) when I read Empowering Your Sober Self shortly after finishing an intensive outpatient program a couple of years ago, at age 55.  In hindsight, I would say it was helpful not so much in terms of thinking of those 35 years as “sober time” but as “what was I doing, and enjoying doing” during that time. 

I went to a knitting workshop by Canadian knitter Sally Melville some years ago, shortly after I moved to Salt Lake City. I was feeling very alone, and cuddling up every night with Mr. Smirnoff at the time.  In the workshop, Melville talked about her life’s work and her realization that she was doing what she loved doing when she was a girl/young woman: designing, drawing, creating, and, she noted, “playing teacher.” While that idea struck me at the time, it wasn’t until I was thinking about “what I was doing, and enjoying doing” between say, age 10 and 35 that I started to get a better picture of which threads of my life I wanted to pick up and start weaving together again in my recovery life. 

It was that concept, more than accumulating sober time, that helped propel me through the first months of recovery, and still, quite frankly, keeps me going today.  When I lose track of “ideas and creative works I want to produce and weave together in new and meaningful ways,” I end up in the weeds. Not, these days, with Mr. Smirnoff, but with the shell of the woman he left behind. She’s not nearly as much fun to be with (for me, or anyone around me) as the woman-with-dreams-and-ideas that require abstinence to accomplish, but aren’t the product of having such-and-such number of days, months, or years of sobriety. 

– Mahala Kephart

In the Beginning…

LifeRingThis is the first in what will be a series of stories from LifeRing members about their experience in finding and joining LifeRing.

In 1999, I was a “functional” addict steadily becoming less functional. I owned a bookstore in Port Angeles, WA, a small town about 50 miles west of Seattle. I’d been drinking for years, of course, and was having less and less success in “controlling” it. Since I was the owner, I could take long lunches and/or go home early in the afternoon. You can guess what I did with the time.

I lived alone. I had left a bad marriage a few years before. One thing that had kept me in the marriage was the realization that living alone, my drinking would get worse. And it did. But by ’99 I was ready to face the fact that not only did I need to quit drinking, I needed help to do that.

I was pretty isolated outside of work and had nobody to talk to about my addiction. The only group available in my town was AA. I had flipped through copies of the “Big Book” when they came in used to my bookshop and had firmly established that it wasn’t for me. But where else could I turn? I searched on Google for “alternatives AA” but only got AA sites. Finally, I hit on the term – “secular” — that brought up LifeRing.

From the first moment of my first visit to the LifeRing website (then unhooked.com; now lifering.org) I felt a surge of hope. These were people like me: people who didn’t feel powerless, just in need of a helping hand; people who didn’t want a heavily structured program powered by slogans and Steps and “higher powers,” people who wanted to deal with present life, not wallow in the black despair of the past.

I joined a LifeRing email group, LSRmail, and knew at once that I’d found a home and that the “support” piece of my recovery puzzle was in place. There were other pieces I needed to find and recovery for me was never quick or easy. But LifeRing was always there for me and I’ve remained involved ever since. It truly was a life ring for me.

–Craig Whalley

Keepers

When this new website replaced the old unhooked.com home, there were some parts of the old site that didn’t make the transfer to the new one. The transfer process involved some labor-intensive re-formatting and some of the less-visited pages were left behind.

Now, one of those sections — Keepers — has been added back to the new site due to the tireless efforts of long-time LifeRing member Alceon. Those pages can be accessed through a link on the right side under Categories, or just click here.

“Keepers: Voices of Secular Recovery” is a published collection of some of the most memorable and helpful messages posted on the on-line e-mail group LSRmail in the 1990’s. Edited and with an introduction by Martin Nicolaus, only a few copies of the book are still available through LifeRing Press. Alceon has selected the best of the best to preserve on this website. She will be making a similar effort to move both the Poetry and the Food and Beverage sections to the new site.

Keepers


Keepers: Voices of Secular Recovery

edited and with an introduction by Marty Nicolaus
From LifeRing Press

Keepers is a selection of more than 120 short items culled from among the best postings by members of the LifeRing email list during 1996 – 1999. A small number of copies of the book are still available at LifeRing Press but the supply is limited and the book is not scheduled for reprint — so grab your copy fast!

Selections found here are a brief sampling from the book and were all posted by permission of the authors.

To get on the email list, send a request to Tom Shelley at tshelley@tampabay.rr.com

.