Tag Archives: Self-direction

Keeper of the Month – April

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.

  You gotta do what you have to do

LifeRing’s major mission is helping addicts learn to practice “The Sobriety Priority“, which means making recovery the most important thing in one’s life. When done, everything one does or doesn’t do thereafter involves considering the impact upon their recovery, and making self-care and life decisions based upon those principles.

Sometimes people in early recovery have a difficult time wrapping their minds around what, exactly, this means or why it’s necessary. This month’s Keeper is a LifeRing “old timer” answering those very questions posed by a newcomer:

 

From my point of view, sobriety is about learning how to live life, in whatever permutation you choose it to take. The thing about it that’s always appealed to me is the very possibility of that, whereas when I was drinking alcohol my choices were extremely limited, usually to more of it, and less of pretty much everything else.

Most active alcoholics, contrary to popular belief, are able to hold down jobs, mortgages, marriages and families, hobbies and almost all other vestiges of daily life precisely because they smack of “normalcy”, and allow the drinker to point out to themselves and everyone else that, since they’re not sitting underneath a bridge somewhere, swilling things out of brown paper sacks (or some other horrific fate worse than death), then they must be OK.

Some are more or less successful at this depending upon to what degree they are willing to work to maintain operating under the illusion that they’re running the show, while shackled in chains.

When you sober up, one thing that happens almost immediately is that you begin to notice the detritus left scattered about from your own personal, slow-motion train wreck, all of which was generally observable the entire time, only you were too drunk to notice or care. Without the blinders of alcohol, it can seem overwhelming.

The part of your brain that’s responsible for the whole thing, conveniently, thinks the solution to seeing the light of day is to put the blinders back on, and carry on with the chief fallacy of every addict’s life–“You can’t deal with all this! It’s not a good time, not a good time at all. You’ve got this (insert adjective of importance here) to do right now, and once that happens, then you can think aboutquitting drinking. How about we wait and pencil it in for next Thursday?”

It seems, to me, that the real key to freedom, to life, is learning how to sort out the truth from the lies–reality versus illusion–and what of either we choose to believe. The reality is, the rest of your life can be a long time, but it won’t happen next Thursday, after the illusion of some other self-imposed condition has been improbably met. It begins when you begin it, and it continues if you sustain and build on what you’ve begun.

Since life is not an instant but begins (and ends) in them, and instants become moments, and moments unfold into days, all you can do is take them as they come; some days are better than others, but through continuous practice – and yes, some monumental effort – and often to your own amazement, you realize you’re able to point your life in the direction you want it to go for the simple reason that you’re finally able to lift your aim that high.

You may not find that out for a while, but there’s plenty of time for it, and anything else you’d like, if you’re willing to give it to yourself.

~~

 

 

 

Keeper of the Month – March

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.

 

Keep Calm

 

In keeping with our recent “Essential Recovery Toolkit”, here is an example of what one delightful member of LifeRing’s list community, Angela Nolan, shared about emphasizing relaxation as part of her toolkit:

I am reading a book called (warning, cliche’ ahead!) “I Want to Change My Life:  How to Overcome Anxiety, Depression, and Addiction” by Stephen M. Melemis, Ph.D., M.D.  The first part of the book is all about learning to relax and using the breath and the body to relax the mind.  I have been doing some of the exercises daily and one of them is our own dear Jane’s deep belly breathing.  :)  Should’ve known.

Anyway, below is a quote from the book and I am finding it very helpful.  I’ve been through a lot, especially in the past few years, and my drinking didn’t help, but only extremely aggravated all of it.  I realize that one of my big problems/triggers is letting stress get to me and I have been through the most serious stress since the surgery.

I’ve been sober again two weeks (and finished the klonopin taper 3 days ago) and by practicing relaxation, I think I’ve made it a lot easier on myself.  Not only that, but I think if I keep these good practices going, they could lead me into the sobriety that is going to sustain me for the rest of my life.

Quote from the book:  

“When you are tense, you blur the line between what happens around you and what you feel inside. When you’re tense, it feels as if things are happening to you instead of happening around you. Therefore you try to control them. It feels like people are going out of their way to irritate. But when you’re relaxed, you see things as simply happening, which makes it easier to let them go. Learning to relax doesn’t make you passive. It is efficient . Mind-body relaxation doesn’t involve letting go of what’s important. You learn how to let go of what’s holding you back.”

Here’s to all of us letting go of what’s holding us back.

~~

 

 

Keeper of the Month – February

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.

Nelson Mandela Quote

 

This month’s post is contributed by Mary C., who recently posted about her 2 year sobriety anniversary, how she’s gotten there (aka her “PRP”, or Personal Recovery Plan/Program), and all of the benefits she’s received by living a clean and sober life:

I am so pleased to be able to say I have two years sober as of today. I am doing a quiet little happy dance here on my iPad keyboard.

I’ve been trying for decades, literally, to shake this drinking obsession. And with support from a good addictions counselor and the wisdom of this group and F2F LR meetings, I finally, finally feel free of it. After two years I still do the various elements of my Personal Recovery Plan, but maybe not quite so intensely these days — my F2F LifeRing meetings are down to once a week, online reading and posting most days but not always, weekly visits to addictions counselor are now down to as-needed “tune-ups”.

I’m feeling physically and emotionally better than I have in years. The biggest danger now is getting complacent and slacking off on my program. For example, when I miss a week or two of F2F meetings, I can see a big red flag signaling caution, pay attention!

I know it can be so daunting and scary to quit. But keep trying, trying, trying. I’m sure I was lurking and occasionally posting on LR forums and email lists for at least two years, then I found my counselor and then started about six months of hard-work-therapy before pulling the trigger on my Quit Date of Feb 4.

Just for the record, let me briefly list the changes in my life that have come with sobriety in these last two years:

* My thoughts are now turned outward toward an interesting life instead of inward with guilt and secrecy and self hatred.
* Crazy good health improvements. Lost 52 lbs. (Weight Watchers). Normalized my high blood pressure. Reduced all those lab test markers for cholesterol, liver, blood sugar, etc.

* Sleep gets its own category because it’s so wonderful to have it back!  I still have to take the occasional Benadryl or melatonin, but those 3 am wide eyed hangover wake ups are gone for good. 

* This is a weird one:  I can enjoy music again. For years I wasn’t able to listen to much music because it provoked such an emotional response in me. Now that my emotions are better balanced, I have pulled out my old vinyl, bought a new turntable, transferred old iPod music to iPhone & am good to go!

* Like a lot of people in sobriety, I’ve found exercise. I now try to walk with my little dog Rosie every day in order to keep my mind happy and to sleep well.  (Plus Rosie likes it)

* Travel is something I can do again. I don’t have to stay home any more and nurse my addiction. Went to Santa Fe/Taos last fall and am heading to San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, this spring.

* Best for last, my dearest relationships with family and most friends are happier, more relaxed and somehow closer. Sadly, not all relationships fared so well, but I can’t really regret that.

 

Thanks for letting me share my milestone with you. I’ll still be here reading, even tho I’m not a very frequent poster. I can hardly go a day without looking in on LifeRing!

 ~~

A View on LifeRing’s “Structure”

structure2LifeRing member Byron Kerr shares some thoughts on LifeRing’s approach to providing structure in recovery:

I recently heard a proposal in a LifeRing forum that, “some people just need the structure of 12-Step.” This reflects an assumption that LifeRing is somehow unstructured. While it is true that we do not offer a single “official” structure as to how an individual must achieve sobriety, the LifeRing approach is not unstructured. It is personally structured.

A user/drinker will not succeed in LifeRing without crafting their own structure. We call it your “Personal Recovery Plan.” Your PRP is your best hope for success. Your PRP should be detailed, specific, and well thought out. All persons that succeed in recovery use structure. We simply propose that when you compose your own structure, you will be automatically more invested in your own recovery. If you only read a script and put none of your own effort into your structure, the odds of your success may be diminished.

Can people in recovery benefit from suggestions and guidance? Certainly. We provide those things as a fundamental part of all of our support efforts. We offer ideas from personal experience but stop short of specific, “you should………” type advice.

LifeRing can work for anyone. The notion that there are some people who can only benefit from the “structure” of other support programs is not considering the fact that LifeRing is very much a structured approach. It only works with structure. That’s what we mean by “self-empowerment.”

— Byron Kerr

Nothing Like a Little Good Publicty …

tabernashDick Sprague, a LifeRing Convenor in Tabernash (Grand County), CO, provided information for an article in SkyHiNews “serving Winter Park, Granby, and Grand County, CO.” The article can be read in full by clicking Here.

Sprague is mentioned in the article and provided most or all of the information for it. Here’s a sample: “LifeRing seeks to build off other’s experiences to help people create a tailored recovery program, or as Dick Sprague, the man who has been convening the meetings locally and is an advocate for the group, puts it: “It gives you arrows to put in your quiver.”

Sprague went on to say, “All personalities have differences, and different things work for different people …”

The Tabernash meeting is weekly on Thursdays at 7 p.m. at The Church of the Eternal Hills. More details are available at the LifeRing Colorado website.

Sprague can be contacted at dick.sprague@comcast.net