Now that I'm out of the fizz fog of drinking an 18 pack a night I get to sit back and watch the newbies struggle their way through the first few months. To a degree people in recovery are very much the same. Most of us think we can trick ourselves into drinking only on weekends or only on Holidays. Most of us think we can set traps like having someone hold our cash on payday or having our roommate stash our booze where we can't find it. Just like our drinking life, our sober life is filled with methodologies and superstitions we've conjured to try and control an outcome. And most of us don't understand the idea of surrender or letting go because you can't control surrendering and control is all we really know.
Some of the interesting concepts I've seen newbies come in with are straight entertainment. The Sober Calculator was the first one that comes to mind. This "anonymous" kid thought that by downloading this app that counted his sober days down to the second would be enough to keep him in check. The one thing the calculator is missing is a tally of how many times a person uninstalls it and installs it to start all over again. Can you imagine if these app makers figured out the key to what some of the world's greatest physicians couldn't solve? First app to receive the Nobel Prize?
Another one I see often is the gung-ho quit everything at once guy. Not a good idea! I hate to promote smoking (it won't be the first time) but smoking can actually help you curb the monster cravings hitting you from every angle. This is where that saying "Take It Easy" comes in. Dieting, getting a good job, buying a house, quitting smoking...those things can all come later. Please don't try to run for senate the week you quit drinking.
This one I love: A girl I met at a meeting said that instead of going to AA she was just going to watch "Mom" reruns. I never saw her again. Sure, maybe she's walking around sober and getting a shot of "Mom" every night before she goes to bed, but sadly that theory seems like a bust. Straight up the reasons we go to meetings are like a) the get support b) to connect and c) to identify ourselves as alcoholics so that one day our unconscious mind might actually believe we have a problem cause we certainly don't feel like we do.
I like the addict mind, it's cunning, manipulative and irrational and those things make for REALLY great comedy. What are your insane tricks to getting sober? Best one gets a lollipop.
1) I only blacked out twice this week. If I black out one more time that's still less than half the week!
2) If I go to the bar I might get drunk enough to go home with someone and then I'd have somewhere to sleep tonight.
3) This is a perfect excuse for why I'm not going to show up for work tomorrow.
4) A drink will help me feel better about getting obliterated last night.
5) A drink will help me forget about getting obliterated for the last 3,650 days of my life.
6) Whiskey is my best friend (go ahead and say that out loud)
7) If I only have one drink then I'll feel better about having the next ten
8) Everyone else has failed me, but vodka always pulls through.
9) I'm a mess, poison will fix it!
10) Alcohol kills bacteria so if I drink vodka I'll never get sick
All I wanted growing up was an exciting life...I did not realize that asking for excitement invited crocodiles...and fiery darts...and evictions. I thought yay, fun, excitement. What I got was AAaaaaAAAaaaahhhhhh! excitement. When you get to the point in your life when you look at boredom as a luxury, it's because excitement gets old. It really does.
Drinking didn't get old for me, the side effects of it did though. Messes and clean ups, overreactions and apologies, fires (yes, actual fires), fights, looking for my purse every morning and finding it sometimes, cheating, not remembering cheating, concussions, lies, explanations, hangovers...yada....yada...yada... Drinking itself never got old-the taste, the ambiance, the connections and the laughs, but the side effects of being a black out drunk...fuck em.
Now at two years I'm not a saint, I'm nowhere near where I could be, should be, will be....I'm slowly making amends and making things right, but the one truth I hold is that I haven't had a drink. And the bad excitement I've had in sobriety (that seems to follow me no matter what)...my ex disappearing on meth, getting cancer, losing several friends to suicide and addiction seemed less catastrophic and more hopeful. For instance my ex checked himself into treatment a week ago and I was clear headed enough to be able to help instead of firing off like I might have a year ago. When I found out about the cancer, my kidneys and liver had a year and a half to cleanse themselves so the chemo didn't send me into failure. My rent was reasonable, my support systems were strong and my kids and I had everything we needed. When I found out one of my good friends had committed suicide, it was after I had a dream about him which led me to find out. I felt I had a clear communication with him, but would that have happened if I'd been drunk. Most likely not.
At two years our brains start to repair the damage and broken connections, that's what I have heard. I guess we'll see.
1. A king of a very important kingdom appoints you to the position of night watch. Your duty is to stay at the gate every waking hour and watch for a mythical sign to appear. It is important that you sleep during the day and remain alert during your shift. According to legend a comet to the east will flash red for exactly 2 seconds. If you miss the flash the kingdom is doomed, the people will die and earth will replenish itself. The comet can detect intoxication as well and will just pass you by if it senses you have been drinking at all.
2. You get hired to swallow swords on fire.
3. You have a bowel obstruction that is forcing you to shit out your mouth. Every time you try to take a drink, the shit and alcohol meet in your throat causing you to choke up liquid shit that quickly eats away at your esophagal lining.
4. You are over-hydrated (Very dangerous!)
5. Room Raiders, the MTV show, alerts you that they will be doing an expose by taking a black light to your bedroom sometime in the next year at a spontaneous time.
6. It's the future. Alcohol has been outlawed in the new prohibition amendment of 2042. There is to be an execution tomorrow for everyone who is extracted from their home that tests positive for even .01%. Everyone will be tested.
7. News flash: the DABC has been notified that terrorists have hijacked hundreds of thousands of cases of alcoholic beverages and dissolved trace amounts of Anthrax in them. Every drink is now a dangerous game of roulette.
8. It is discovered that for every drink that disappears, a monkey dies.
9. You are literally on fire.
10. Every time you drink you're an asshole.
I've never felt such a sense of security as when my life was
completely a P a r
Many concussions later
I'm having discussions like I'm an AA'er
cause I have problems AND my problems have cousins,
as to minimize this reprise,
I'm rhyming now AS I've been smoking weed
and drinking wine................
PART OF THIS DISEASE IS D
ASS O CIA T I O
That's why I can drink and smoke and claim I'm clean
In the meantime...
existing under a cloak of chemicals
and *takes a puff off a cigarette* "the perks I get from other folks"
I finally did it!
So why am I stoned AND why am I lit?!
ADDICTION IS THE HIGHEST FORM OF RHETORIC - It's like I'm listening to two arguments,
neither of which seem to reflect my own opinions
I SEE THEREFORE I AM NOT
I sat back and had a drink while the two of them fought.
I dug into the compartments of compartmentalization-
It wasn't until six drinks later
I had the dialogue going about how I'm better
See, having been clean three times last week
Seeps into my current,
see and I pat myself on the back
For having the self-control IT NEEDS
If you go to anonymous meetings, al-anon, gamblers, coda, over eaters, etc. you may find yourself getting called out with nothing to say. Here we've provided a template for you so if you're an addict (or just pretending to be one to get all the cool member benefits) you can fit right in. Just fill in the blanks with your name, DOC (drug of choice) and whatever else fits the context and you'll be well on your way to saying the serenity prayer and accepting the things you can't change (i.e. that you're not great at telling stories, talking in front of other people or following directions).
My name is ________________(you're name here) and I'm a grateful ______________(alcoholic, ragaholic, sexaholic, addict, bingeaholic <-see my last post AA greetings for AA meetings to get more ideas).
(Clear your throat)
I realized I had a problem when I saw my friends ___________ (insert normal activity) while I was __________(adverb)___________(verb ending in "ing") until the next morning when I would discover I lost all my ________(plural noun). This went on for ______(number) years where I would start ________(addict behavior) and gradually over time I lost my _______(noun), my ______(good personal attribute) and my _______(a virtue). Soon enough none of my ________(type of relationship) would have anything to do with me. That's when I discovered that I might have a problem. When I first came into these rooms I thought _______(an elaborate existential realization), but discovered it was just my addiction _______(verb ending in "ing".) I did what everyone ______(verb in past tense) me to do and _______(irregular verb) hold of the first ______(noun) I could. I did the ______(noun) and it kept me _______(irregular verb) long enough that my own will took over. I'm forever _______(verb ending in "ful") to _________(Meeting name) for ______(verb ending in "ing") me recover from the insidious use of ________(DOC) and for that I will take another 24.
I get it...it's important to drill into your own mind that you are an alcoholic. If you say it enough, you might actually start to believe it. But sometimes you don't want to be just an anonymous alcoholic when you introduce yourself to a room of people, sometimes you want your ego to SHINE "Hey, I'm the funny one!" or "Hey, I have a name!" so here's ten alt's to use or get you started on your own.
1. My name is ____ and I'm A PERSON. (Whoa, how about THAT bomb!)
2. My name is _____ and I'm a dipsomaniac (clinical name for alcoholic)
3. My name is ______ and I'm a tea totaller (Old timey name for a sober person)
4. My name is ______ and I'm good (just nod)
5. My name is ______ and I'm a Virgo, Existentialist, Cisgender, Reptilian Cross breed.
6. My name is ______ and sorry, what was the question?
7. My name is ______ and I'm a drunk
8. My name is ______ and I'm NOT annoyed
9. My name is ______ and I prefer not to label myself
10. My name is Slim Shady, please stand up.
When attempting to get sober, it's important to identify our lists of triggers. Some of these triggers are easy to identify like a hard day at work and subsequent reward. Others kind of evade us until that moment when we drive by a car of yodeling Mexican's and think "Okay, that's weird, but that just totally made me want to drive my car straight through the walls of the liquor store." Here are a list of some potential triggers that might not come to mind immediately, but if you think about them long enough you'll be calling for bail money.
1. Phone battery is at 1%. At 15% you told yourself you had time. At 5% you started to mildly panic. Now your phone is 1% and somehow you feel like Bruce Willis in Die Hard except you lack the tools to disarm the impending boom. You know you are on a serious countdown to being alone with the void your own mind and somehow you're only problem solving skill involves a drink which will end up being much more expensive and time consuming than finding a friend or a store with a charger.
2. Girl yelling "whoooo" in the distance. Mind: "Must be a girl partying. She sounds like she's having fun. I remember when I used to have fun like that. I can almost taste the Long Island now. Hmmm, I'm thirsty. Oh there's a bar over there. Okay, I'll just go have one." Game Over, do not pass Go, do not collect 200 anything except random numbers, scrapes and cuts.
3. Being told what to do by anyone. Mind: "Who do they think they are? Wow, they really need to work on their approach. No one tells me what to do." These are common thoughts you might have upon being told what to do by anyone. We don't take authority well and somehow this is news to us. There's no right way for anyone to approach us and give us instructions and they are just as apprehensive about doing it as we are receiving it which is why the whole thing came out so weird and tense.
4. Drinking something out of a brown bag. If you do this with anything but booze you will feel like Martin Short in Three Amigos when he goes to drink water out of his canteen and it's filled with sand. You will feel the thirst. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tHVpJGXZ21o
5. Patio Dining. Mind: "Oh man, look at those people drinking over there having such a good time. No fair." Aaaaahhhhhhhhh! You may have to just run every time you see patio dining. Tell people you are a patio dining phobe. You'll actually look stupider getting drunk in the middle of the day at a lovely patio dining arrangement then just seriously belting every time you pass one.
6. The Real Housewives of anything, Big Brother, Dating Naked as well as several other reality shows. They are fighting. Drinking. Shopping. Drinking. Working out. Drinking. Travelling. Drinking. Suddenly, you feel like you know them and they are your best friends. Soon drinking seems like a normal part of life again and you've completely forgotten how you know the detox unit at the hospital on a first name basis.
7. Having your shit together and looking good. It seems like you should only be triggered when you are having a rough day, but now you have money to lose and weight to gain. Everything is great, but your mind whispers to you that the only thing you are missing is a drink...then you'd really be great. All I have to say is play the tape motherfuckers.
8. Church. All these good people make you want to be bad. Maybe not necessarily bad, but definitely not one of them. You feel more comfortable in a bar than church, more like you can express yourself. Church isn't about you and that also makes it difficult. Maybe church isn't for everyone and that is okay. For some of us it's just better to avoid.
9. Car problems. There's a reason triple A has two A's in it. Never go without it if you are planning on being sober for any substantial amount of time.