Tag Archives: keepers

A Sweet Story: LifeRing ePals

LifeRing ePals is a program where anyone who feels like they’d benefit from one-on-one support is paired with a clean and sober LifeRing member via email.

Longtime LifeRinger Julie H. signed up to become an ePal and was eventually connected with a man from China seeking sobriety support. One might think it impossible to even communicate with someone when there’s a considerable language barrier much less create a supportive connection, but in spite of some challenges they’ve found a way.

Here’s an update Julie originally shared in a LifeRing e-mail group. We thought it was such an inspiration we’re sharing it with you here (with Julie’s permission, of course)…

“A quick update on my Chinese epal. For the newcomers who don’t know, he uses translation software to read and send emails between us. His sober time between relapses has been steadily growing and the length of each relapse is shrinking. 

His pattern before would be 3-5 days or maybe a week sober, followed by a 10 day relapse. He’s back with me today after a 2 day relapse which followed 27 sober days straight. 

It takes amazing determination I think and he’s definitely making steady progress. I’ve managed to find an App for English to Chinese which I sometimes use because he really appreciates that. He tells me Empowering Your Sober Self is now available in China which is awesome. 

By the way, I’m in no way advocating relapse but unfortunately it’s a fact of life. What’s important I think is to keep that pilot light on and to never ever give up. 

DDNMW 
Julie H.”

If you’d like to get an ePal or become one, please send an e-mail to Craig at cswhalley@lifering.org and he’ll be glad to get you started.

~~

Irreconcilable Differences – A Guest Blog Post by Rich C.

LifeRing’s e-mail groups have always been a great resource of support, encouragement, and community to those who use them as recovery tools. So many of the posts people write come from the deepest parts of themselves as a means of expressing their internal recovery processes. A lot of people have described the end of their relationship to their drug of choice – and their decision to kick it to the curb once and for all – to that of finally leaving of an abusive lover or spouse. A divorce, if you will…

The following is just such a post, created by my dear, brilliant husband, Rich C., which exhibits a…conversation, between one’s newly empowered Sober Self and their Addicted Self. It’s so good, it seems irresponsible not to share it with everyone! 

So here, without further adieu, is a break-up of epic proportions, written by Rich C.:

Alcohol:  Hey, sweetie, it’s been a while.  Have you missed me?  Did you get my messages, and my texts?
Me: I supposed 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.
Me:  Yeah, I have noticed.  You didn’t used to do that, you know.
Alcohol:  Well, our love has evolved, so to speak.
Me: Yes, it has.  So, are you saying that we made vows, “to love, honor, cherish and obey,” etc.?
Alcohol: Well, you made them.  I don’t do that sort of thing.  But, take my word for it, you recited it over and over.
Me:  Well, here’s the problem.  If/when I promised to stay true, to love, honor, cherish, etc…..
Alcohol:  Don’t forget “obey!”
Me:  Sorry.  Obey, and so forth, “in sickness and in health,” I wasn’t thinking in terms of YOU making me sick.
Alcohol:  Don’t forget “til death do us part.”
Me: Precisely. Right. But it didn’t say I had to wait until my bride murdered me.
Alcohol:  Okay, whatever.  So you want another trial separation.
Me:  No, this time is different.
Alcohol:  Hey, that’s MY line.
Me:  Yeah, and I’m sorry to say I’ve bought it all too many times, but I’ve finally figured out that it’s a lie.
Alcohol:  So anyway, we’ll take a little time away from each other, I guess.
Me: You don’t get it.  I’m done.  Through.  Finished.  Bye-bye.
Alcohol:  Well, I’ll go ahead and give you a call at 5 PM every day.
Me:  No, you won’t.  I’ve taken out a restraining order against you, and I’ve set all my phones to recognize your number and send you to voice mail, which I never listen to.  You call me, and you go to jail.
Alcohol: Like I’ve never been to jail.  Big deal.
Me:  Yeah I know–we went together, remember?  But this won’t be like that.  I won’t be there, and neither will any of your other lovers.  You’ll just be sitting there by yourself, with nobody to talk to.  So you’d better not start your harassing calls, this time.
Alcohol: Well, then I’ll send my mind-worms after you.  You can’t hang up on them.
Me:  You wanna bet?  You know what, you’re just a friggin’ molecule, is what you are.  You have no power over me.
Alcohol:  I’m a part of you.
Me:  You were.  Now you’re just a memory, and a mostly bad one at that.
Alcohol:  (sniffling) Is there someone else?
Me: Yeah, there is.  And her name is Life.  Guess what, she’s not perfect, but she’s not trying to kill me and make me do stupid things.
Alcohol:  Life?  I remember when you’d come over so you could get away from that bitch.
Me:  Yeah, that’s right, I used to do that, but I didn’t know how good I had it then.  And there’s a bonus.  Once I started seeing Life again she introduced me to Bobbi, and Bobbi is my one true love.
Alcohol:  Wait a minute; you’re cheating on me with Life, and you’re cheating on Life with someone named Bobbi?
Me:  No, not cheating.  It’s a threesome, if you will.  The truth is, Bobbi’s a part of Life, just like love’s a part of life. I’ve got my kids, my friends, my hobbies, my work, art, music, all things I love.  They’re not separate from life, and neither is heartache, loss, disappointment, fear, or pain.  But I found out that trying to kill the bad stuff kills it all.
Alcohol:  Come on, you know I’m a great enhancer of pleasures and a reducer of pain.
Me:  You were, but over time you became a pleasure reducer and pain enhancer.
Alcohol:  So, what are you claiming–“mental cruelty,” or something?
Me:  I could, but we’re in California, and it’s a no-fault divorce state.  All I’m saying is “irreconcilable differences.”
~~

Enjoying the Holidays: A Guest Blog

 

 

Pat McGraw, a counselor at The Prevention Coalition – a recovery support organization based in Southern California – sent us a lovely e-mail filled links to helpful resources out there for any of you who may find yourselves feeling stressed out and/or struggling through this holiday season.

Please check our Pat’s guest post with those links included, and please – reach out to and keep in close contact with your support groups and friends in recovery. And feel free to contact us here at LifeRing anytime via e-mail at service@lifering.org.

Many thanks to Pat for sharing this information with all of us, and to all of you, we wish you safe, healthy, happy, and peaceful holidays. 

 

Hello there,

While this is a joyful and busy time of the year for most, many people suffering from mental health issues or substance abuse disorder find the holidays to be a challenge.

As a counselor, I see a lot of my clients struggle with putting on a brave face during the winter holidays. For those in recovery, the parties and celebrations are rife with temptation (and explanation). For those suffering from depression and anxiety, the holidays can exacerbate feelings of despondence and agitation — which, unfortunately, can linger even after the holiday season is over.

In an effort to help those who are suffering find measures of comfort and reassurance, I have created a list of resources to share this list with your readers.

How about starting here:

http://lifering.org/2011/11/addiction-and-alcholism-beyond-12-steps/

 

25 Ways to Find Joy and Balance During the Holidays

 

Stronger than Ever: A Counseling Guide for the LGBTQ Community

 

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder During the Holidays

 

Stress, Depression and the Holidays: Tips for Coping

 

Avoiding Family Stress and conflict During the Holidays

 

Happy holidays.

 

~~

 

 

 

 

New LifeRing Meeting at Laguna Honda Hospital In San Francisco!

Laguna Honda Hospital

LifeRing is proud and pleased as punch to announce a new meeting, open to patients and the public, at Laguna Honda Hospital in San Francisco beginning next Wednesday, July 6th. Every new meeting is a big deal to us, but this meeting has especially important story behind it we’d like to tell you about, as well.

Per the meeting’s convenor, LifeRing Board of Directors Chair Byron Kerr:

“The exciting thing about this is that the City of San Francisco invited LifeRing to begin this meeting, which sends an implicit endorsement of LifeRing support to the recovery world. Laguna Honda Hospital, which is owned and operated by the Department of Public Health of the City & County of San Francisco, invited LifeRing to begin support meetings at the hospital in April of 2015. After more than a year of discussion, access badging, volunteer orientation, and interviews from both perspectives, we are ready to start.”

Check out the meeting information below:

When: Wednesdays at 7:30 PM, beginning on July 6th

WhereLaguna Honda Hospital and Rehabilitation Center, 1st Floor Art Studio, 375 Laguna Honda Blvd. San Francisco , CA 94116

Convenor: Byron Kerr

Contact Information: Telephone: 925-922-3553 E-mail: bykerr@gmail.com

Our sincerest thanks go out to the Department of Public Health, City and County of San Francisco, and to Laguna Honda Hospital for inviting us to serve their patients and community. Congratulations to Byron and all new meeting members – we wish you all the best!

~~

Keeper of the Month – September

Stay Calm

 

One of the most magical things that happens in LifeRing’s e-mail groups is that someone new(er) to the group who may be struggling or have multiple relapses under their belt might post something about how difficult it’s been for them, but how it’s so seemingly easy for others…

And then the group does what it does best, and post after post from other members who’ve been through much the same things roll in, and the original poster realizes they’re really, truly not alone, and that despite everything they’ve been through, there really, truly is hope for them, too.

This month’s Keeper is one such response from long-time group member Richard:

[Replying after another member told their story] “…my story is such that I can’t tell it even in the space you used. So here is the very truncated version for you and anybody else who might benefit.

 I’m one of those folks who drank to excess from the time I started. I was surrounded in my youth with lots of other big drinkers and drug-takers, and I managed to function (i.e.,get up and go to work, or school) most of the time, despite being out of control with uppers, pot, acid, always accompanied by lots and lots of booze.
 
When I turned 30, I had my first kid, and then a couple of years later had another one on the way. Until then, the big deal was the few times I had stopped for a week or two, just to prove I could do it. But I knew I needed help, and finally sought it, entering a rehab in the summer of ’84. I had to go back again in the spring of ’85, and this time it stuck for a decade.
 
I was directed to AA and found a home there, of sorts. My life improved significantly, although of course I still had a lot of  ‘issues.’ I remain grateful to this day that I was sober throughout much of my kid’s youth, despite having split with their mom after a few years.
 
Finally, nearly ten years after stopping, I decided (while on a business trip in the midst of a painful break-up), that going on a little bender ‘just this once,’ would be okay. After all, I had been in therapy most of the ten years I’d been sober, and told myself I had ‘grown’ so much that I’d have no problem resuming long-term sobriety. I lasted a couple of months, and then the drinking times started getting closer and closer.
 
So, I stumbled inadvertently into LifeRing 15 years ago, and started putting together some longish periods of sobriety, but I never seemed to hold onto it. Finally, in February of 2010, I began what is now by far my second longest period of sobriety, which is continuing.
 
I should stress that not everybody struggles, and I do have to say that I have no doubt that my extended periods of sobriety probably saved my life. I figure I’ve been sober over 20 of the last 31 years, just counting periods of longer than one year, plus I know I have around half a dozen six month stretches. Nonetheless, there is no substitute for continuous sobriety, at least not for me. Things don’t always get wonderful right off the bat, but you give yourself a darn good chance to get the most out of life. We all have learned that the other way is just fighting a losing battle against misery.”
~~