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. 🙂



  1. Dennis Meeks on January 26, 2015 at 9:34 am

    Bobbi, great “keeper”. Relapse can never be discussed too much lest it be forgotten.

    “If I don’t remember my drinking and how terrible everything could get….” Like the author, I’m sunk. I’ve been a bit under the weather and since Dec 7 unable to keep up my routine that was tremendously helpful in getting me through the first year and a half. I’ve had some cravings recently, which I haven’t had in months and months. But, I remembered what the end result “always is” and that, and the support here, is what got me through the crisis. Once we have whatever it is we have, we always have it and that’s just a fact born out day after day with those of us who go back to chase the ghost.

    • Bobbi C. on January 26, 2015 at 12:01 pm

      Hey, Dennis. I’m sorry you’ve been feeling a bit under the weather and unable to participate in your normal routines, but I’m very glad you were still able to get through it and hope you’ll be able to get back to your routines and perhaps even begin to establish some new ones. Either way, way to go man! 🙂

    • Bobbi C. on January 26, 2015 at 12:20 pm

      P.S. A little word about cravings. It’s certainly understandable that you might be getting a few, but please – don’t worry about it. You’re not doing anything wrong, you’ve just had a little change in your personal circumstances, so sometimes that’ll happen. You may want to participate a little more on the list and see if that helps (it always does me), but just wanted to try and reassure you a bit. You don’t HAVE to drink. You really don’t – under any circumstances, so don’t let the Little Bastard convince you otherwise. It’s completely, totally, and utterly full of shit, also under any circumstances. 🙂

  2. illona on January 21, 2015 at 6:32 am

    I’m grateful to consider this subject. What strikes me is the discussion of dichotomies:  the razor’s edge of fragile and strong, being stressed by some things that others are surprised by, while also being unusually capable in ways people revere.

    It’s that whole jumbled mess of things that our life can be.  Perhaps it’s about the navigation–learning to wander through the ups and downs without becoming too enamored of or stuck in any one celebration, desire, regret or loss.

    What this writing seems to hint at is maturity. . .a more balanced way the writer may be living her life now.  Balance doesn’t have to be in every corner of her life, but I see the maturity from which she moves and flows.  

    So beautiful to hear from a LifeRing friend who has some time under her belt.  By taking a peak at her life, I’m happy to realize that all the dichotomies that are present in my own make me right on schedule.  Perhaps this continual play of opposites are normal for any life, whether we used to drink alcoholically or not.  

    The remarkable thing is having the savvy, experience, the maturity, not to feel blown out of the water when challenges arise.

    Ah, 12 years.  What a beautiful number. Congratulations, dearie.

    • Bobbi C. on January 23, 2015 at 12:26 pm

      “What this writing seems to hint at is maturity. . .a more balanced way the writer may be living her life now.”

      Absolutely agree, wholeheartedly, Illona! Finding the dichotomies both within oneself and life itself and finding out how to balance oneself are remarkable aspects this lovely lady has illustrated wonderfully here. I feel very lucky to have had the opportunity to learn many things from her over the years, and glad you see some resemblance to yourself, as well! 🙂

  3. Angela Nolan on January 20, 2015 at 10:16 pm

    I remember reading this on the list and it is a perfect keeper for the month of January. I always have to tell you, Bobbi, what a damned fine excellent job you are doing with this blog. Thank you for doing it I thoroughly enjoy every single post and learn a lot from the posts themselves as well as the comments from other members.

    • Bobbi C. on January 22, 2015 at 11:24 am

      Aw, thank you so much Ang! I’m always glad to learn some new stuff myself as well as share it with others, and I too get a great deal from all the comments. 🙂