Humble Pie....

"All A.A. progress can be reckoned in terms of just two words: humility and responsibility. Our whole spiritual development can be accurately measured by our degree of adherence to these magnificent standards" AS BILL SEES IT, p. 271

These words are so true. I was never humble as a drunk, I was either cocky and arrogant. Or so full of remorse and self hatred that I couldn't see straight. When I first started in the program I thought I was humble, or at least getting humble. That was so far from the truth it was disgusting. I kept relapsing and then going thru my whole cycle it was so sick. I would go to a bar in my relapse and be cocky and arrogant and buy drinks for everyone, like I was a big shot. The truth was I probably either borrowed that money or was using money that was meant for something else. And responsibility? Wow, it was everyone else's fault. The deal didn't close because so and so didn't do their job, or I drank because you made me so mad. It was amazing to see how much I didn't take responsibility or become humble. This time around I am trying to just shut up and listen and to take responsibility for what I have done, and frankly what I am still doing. Just to be humble enough to know that when a sober person, that has some time, tells me to do something, I NEED TO DO IT. That person has stayed sober so obviously there is something they are doing right.

Today I am grateful for...
  • FRIDAY!!!!
  • The serenity I feel for the meeting this morning.
  • Forgiveness
  • Having had dinner with my sponsor and running into another alcoholic and the conversation we had.

Expect Miracles...

In the program we are told to expect miracles. For me I never understood that. I think this time around I am trying to grasp at any little thing I can, and I am expecting miracles. My life has been full of them already, my Higher Power has always wanted me to succeed. It is a miracle that I am even alive given some of the things that have happened. It is a miracle that we have our daughter, and that has helped me so much. When I am in a meeting and I look around I see all the miracles that my Higher Power has made around me. I see people who can become anything they want, that come from places I cant even imagine. Little things make me think about miracles now, things that other people would call coincidence. Things that might just be chances in others minds are events that my Higher Power controls. Meeting a new sponsor, moving to meetings that I hear about that I end up loving, working closer to meetings. These are all things that are keeping me in the right directions. I pray today to take advantage of these miracles. To recognize them when my Higher Power makes them available.

Today I am grateful.....
  • For the miracle of my family and them staying with me.
  • That my side of the street is being cleaned.
  • Knowing there are several meetings I can attend today.
  • It seems my health is good and I am feeling stronger day by day.
  • Realizing I am POWERLESS.


LIfe on Life's terms...

Today I am just living life on life's terms. I heard someone share this morning at my meeting about this. Sometimes we just have to do it...some days that's all I can do. Not drink, go to a meeting and try to stay grounded on life's terms.

Today I am grateful:
  • For getting to my meeting on time, and being able to let go when half of the people kept showing up almost 30 minutes into the meeting. I hate that, and I was able to let it go.
  • Hearing a share from a guy that made my meeting worth it.
  • Even though I forgot an important appointment, my wife didn't get upset. I love that we are both growing.
  • Having a job and getting closer to economic security.


Look at your feet...

My sponsor told me that when things are getting crazy in his head he looks at his feet. It will keep you present and in a place where its TODAY that matters. My drinking put me anywhere but present. This morning all I have to worry about is TODAY. Don't drink or use TODAY. Be honest and willing. That is what I am going to do, be honest and willing.

Today I am grateful for:
  • The good nights sleep I got.
  • Having a job.
  • The Stag meeting tonight and getting to meet with my sponsor.
  • Trying out serenity.


Spinning out of control

Even when I don't drink my thoughts can spin out of control. I heard at a meeting once that alcoholics imagine the worst things that never even happened. That is me to a T. False Evidence Appearing Real. That is what fear is to me. It happened on Saturday. Something went awry with a project and immediately my mind jumped to the worst possible situation. Then I proceeded to act on those thoughts...wow...I had to go outside and take a walk and understand that I need to let Go and LET GOD!!! The farther away from the drink I get, the more I realize that my head needs healing too!!! The road seems to get longer daily, not shorter! I guess that is why it is one day at a time!

Today I am grateful for:
  • Catching up with an old friend in the program when my thoughts turned left on me.
  • My sponsor calling me back when he did.
  • The ability to sleep well last night.
  • Knowing that dinner will be done when I get home, the crock pot is the best.


Toxic Thoughts...

I have found myself this last week in a spin of toxic thoughts. Anything from you will never beat this disease to you will never be a good father, son, husband, friend, (fill in the blank). Today I was watching a minister we watch every Sunday and he spoke of Toxic thoughts. I couldn't believe what I was hearing, because it was exactly what I was thinking all week long. He spoke of physical "cleansing" that is recommended by doctors to get all the toxins out of our body. He then spoke of a mental cleansing. To replace our old thoughts with new ones. He compared this with having a glass full of dirty water, all sorts of sand, and bits of dirt. We don't need to dump the water out, all we have to do is keep pouring clean water into the glass, and eventually the glass will be full of clean fresh water. This is the same with my alcoholism. If I keep pumping good things into my glass, eventually it will be full of clean fresh thoughts, of which I can grow in my recovery and rid myself of this physical and mental obsession.

Today I am Grateful for:
  • A message today for happiness.
  • Waking up and not coming too, like I used to on so many Sunday mornings.
  • The quiet time with my daughter this morning while my wife slept.
  • A new sponsor who really cares and connects with me.


Taking out what I put in...

In 24 hours a day today it talks about taking out good things of life when we are sober. Yesterday it spoke of taking out bad things when we were drinking. This can be no closer than the truth for me. When I am drinking, I completely check out. I am so self absorbed that I don't care or need anything. IT is such a nicer side of the street when I am sober. I interact with people. I take care of myself and my family. I enjoy the time during the day and don't wonder how it is already 9 o'clock at night, and I am drunk. Reaping what I sow has become an important part of sobriety. I can enjoy the fruits of my labor and sometimes just sit and listen is enough for me.

Today I am grateful for:
  • Being sober to watch playoff Basketball.
  • Awaking early this morning and not "coming to"
  • The nice spring weather.
  • The conversation with my mother last night, its nice to start to heal wounds.


Staying in the moment...

This morning was tough. Really tough for me to stay in the moment. I awoke with no problem and was excited to go to my Saturday meeting. I got up did my normal coffee routine and checked my mail. There it was, the invite to Dallas to see the Cowboys play my favorite team, from a good friend of mine. This friend does not know about my struggle, as he lives very far away and when we do talk, its mostly of sports and family. Without skipping a beat my mind went straight to insanity. "How am I gonna not drink or use while there?" Now, this is happening in December mind you, but in 1 minute I had already played out the whole tape. Whats going to happen and how in the world I am going to get through it. I had to stop. Concentrate on today. Now. This minute. I drove to my meeting and was able to get myself back in the moment about 10 minutes into my meeting. I am glad I did as it was a very good meeting. This is something new to me, living in the moment. Being an alcoholic, things were either thinking about the past or future. Never being present for anything. I checked out A LOT!!! Today I can concentrate on how to live today and my Higher Power will give me the answers. I don't need the answers for December, only for today. It's like taking a test in first grade and wanting the answers for freshman year of high school. That makes little sense, if any at all.

Today I am grateful for:
  • My meeting and the serenity it brought to me.
  • Learning a little more about "present me"
  • The sunny weather today, and the smile it brings to my family.


Insane in the Brain!

"...where alcohol was concerned we have been strangely insane." AA Big Book pg.38

It seems that as I read the big book , the theme of insanity and insanity of alcoholics actions are everywhere. They give examples of people who knew they were alcoholics and yet were "powerless over the first drink". That is me. I have accepted that no power, other than my Higher Power, can keep me sober. Not me, not my wife, my kids, the thought of dying, nothing. In the end of Chapter 3 of the Big Book, it talks directly about only our Higher Power keeping us from that first drink. This is so true. I attended meetings when I first was trying to get sober where a guy used to say this is a "progressive and terminal disease" and that alcohol was "waiting outside that door doing push ups". Our disease only gets worse with time, not better. IT is waiting and is ready for us to again take that sip. I get a daily reprieve. That is what I am learning. I have not written for a couple days, things have been so hectic, but I know that if I don't continue to write, pray, meditate and read, I will not beat this. The daily thought talked about each time an alcoholic does any of these things, we are paying a bit towards our drinking insurance policy. Each of these things helps to insure us not to drink. But the reality is this, I am insane when it comes to alcohol. I must give my Higher Power control over my drinking. I alone will never succeed.

Today I am grateful:

  • For the ability to meditate this morning in quiet time.
  • My willingness to give it to God.
  • Understanding better each day my helplessness over this disease.
  • Friday and the nice weekend ahead.


Let me be honest...

Wow that title even makes me cringe. If you are reading this and you know me than I have lied to you. If you are reading this and don't know me, that's not a lie! In the rooms of AA I have found many character defects, but none as overwhelming as dishonesty. I lied about everything, then I told more lies to cover those lies. On another Blog I read a quote by Fr. Leo that spoke about lying, then lying some more to cover it up. That was me to the T. And if I am to be honest, I still have such a problem with lying. I tell the stupidest, most annoying lies. I lie about everything. I started when I was a kid to cover up things and it has become my nature. This is going to be the hardest road for my recovery. I need help on this. Anyone who reads this please comment and let me know what has helped you be more honest in your lives. I will write more later about this, but for now I am just looking for some help if you can...thanks.

Today I am grateful for:
  • Having a job.
  • My ability to refresh each day. I never was able to do that.
  • Working from home today.
  • My daughters smile.


Wreckage of the Past...

"We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it." AA Big Book pg. 83

For me this has a new meaning this time in sobriety. I was getting someone coffee this morning, and when I left I saw a big black limo parked outside the Starbucks. This was not odd, as I live right next to a major airport and the limos and drivers often hang out at Starbucks waiting for their fares. As I saw it, I completely flashed to a time on a bender that I was going to Las Vegas. I skipped the whole taxi line at the airport and paid almost $100 just to get in a limo, thinking I was so great. I don't know why I flashed so vividly on this memory, or what it meant. I cringed, I started down the path of hating myself and what I did. Then I stopped, I remembered this phrase in the Big Book and just accepted what I was. An alcoholic with a past, and that I was exactly where my Higher Power wanted me this morning. Getting coffee for a friend. In my previous attempts at sobriety this trigger could have sent me spinning into a self loathing and hatred that, if not the same day someday soon, would have me drinking again. Just because "Gee I did so many things wrong, how can I be forgiven, or even forgive myself." It was fitting that it was Easter morning, as my Higher Power believes that I can be forgiven, and that I, too, may rise again from the depths and be reborn. I get to do that each day, and to forgive myself is even more important.

Today I am grateful:

  • For the Power of Forgiveness.
  • The ability to remember the hurt, but not to repeat the hurt.
  • Starting to understand the wreckage of my past, and to play the tape all the way through so as not to repeat it.


Patience is a virtue...WHAT? HUH?

Saturday is my favorite meeting day. I get to go to a closed meeting that talks about relationships in sobriety. On a separate note, I love closed meetings. I feel I can open up more, and sometimes just feel like everyone there is truly struggling, not mandated by the court..anyways. The speaker today spoke of her "impatience" when something happens in a relationship. Her example was something her boss did, and as soon as she read the email she rushed into her boss' office. At that moment an assistant came in and started a conversation, so the speaker couldn't lay into her boss as she wanted. The moral was that even in sobriety, we need to be patient, and not to react instantly to what happens around us. Life on life's terms. I so often, in sobriety and active drinking moved too quickly. I had a sponsor that used to say, "Slow down." My speech, my thoughts, my actions, the way I eat, everything. I used to move at the speed of light in reacting to ALL situations...and frankly I still do. I need to listen more to my sponsor. To slow down in life, to asses situations. The speaker today spoke of letting our Higher Power create the situations that we can properly react. If we are patient and we really listen, our Higher Power will open the door to making a good and healthy reaction. The snap judgements I make are never good, whether in or out of sobriety. I pray that I can really learn that. I pray that I can stop and listen with my heart. That I can move slower today than I did when I was insane "in" my disease.

I am grateful today for:
  • My favorite meeting.
  • The look on my daughters face when she saw me today at the pier.
  • The good weather for my sister in law's visit with her kids.
  • Slowing down.


Through Sober Eyes....

..Today I will focus on the sober world I want to enjoy and share. The world of drinking has nothing for me. I may encounter situations involving casual drinking today, but I will not be part of them in mind and spirit. I will think and walk in dry places.

I got this quote sent to me so I don't know where it is from, maybe Walk in Dry Places, anyways, this has always been a tough one for me. I work in an industry that is ALL about drinking. Celebrating when times are good, and just drinking to drown out the bad news in the economy. I used to think that I was not able to do this job without drinking. I know now that was my disease. The more I don't drink at these functions, the more I notice other people not drinking. That is the kicker. I also wonder, and shudder frankly, how bad of a fool I made out of myself. I like this quote, because it helps me to focus on the sober world. Looking at people and places and wondering how to react in recovery and not in insanity. Today there will be situations where there is drinking, but I don't have to see those, I can see sobriety. That makes me grateful.

Today I am grateful for:
  • Sleeping a bit longer this morning.
  • Friday and the promise of a great weekend.
  • Family for Easter
  • The greatest golf tournament ever, The Masters, and that I can watch it in sobriety.


Let Go....

For me letting go has been the hardest part of sobriety. Its as if I still want to believe I am in control, that what I do can make or change my disease. Alas, it cannot. The more I realize this, the better off I am going to be. I remember all the times I tried to control my drinking and its wreckage, it was like trying to stop a train with a rubber band. Not gonna happen....Its with the help of the big book and meetings, that I can fully let go. Now lets be honest here, I am no where near letting go completely, however, each day I can try to let a little more go, and let God have a little more of me.

Today I am grateful for:
  • The cough finally leaving me..
  • My honesty with my wife this morning.
  • The ability to work hard, and to be employed.
  • Taking a moment for myself this afternoon outside and just feeling the sun on my face.


Meeting TIME!!

I heard from a friend once that there are two times you should go to a meeting, when you want to and when you don't. Good advice. As I look back on my struggles, the common theme when it comes to relapse is NOT GOING TO MEETINGS! It sounds so simple right? It sounds so easy? It is not. For me I always make an excuse. I must not let myself feel that "I am all right, I don't need a meeting." I am learning that maybe not at that second do I need a meeting, but I NEED A MEETING. I hope I can strive to make meetings more often and make them a part of my daily routine.

Today I am grateful for

  • Seeing someone turn in a five year chip for a 24 hour chip at my meeting last night, and the love and support he got.
  • The speakers humor and tenderness at my meeting last night.
  • A lazy weekend.
  • That Let Go and Let God means even more to me today than it did yesterday.


A vision for me, for us all.....

Last night I woke up around 3 am, eyes wide open, nothing to do. I decided to read the last chapter in the Big Book, A Vision for you. I always liked this chapter, it gave me hope, that there really is a way. I found my favorite paragraph so far, something that when I read it this time, it spoke to me about my "new" sobriety.

"Abandon yourself to God as you understand God. Admit your faults to Him and to your fellows. Clear away the wreckage of your past. Give freely of what you find and join us. We shall be with you in the Fellowship of the Spirit, and you will surely meet some of us as you trudge the Road of Happy Destiny.
May God Bless you and keep you until then." Big Book of AA. pg. 164

I like that Road is capitalized. I like that they ask that God keeps me and blesses me, till then, meaning till I, too, trudge the road. God alone can keep me and make me whole. I like that it sums up recovery in one paragraph. Surrender, admit, and give. WOW, it's a whole new program.

Today I am grateful for:
  • A peaceful sounding alarm clock that woke me up 10 minutes after I had finally gotten back to sleep.
  • My understanding of my disease just a little better today.
  • Not worrying about tomorrow, just focusing on today.
  • The cool ocean breeze that careens through my house when the windows are open.


....The rest of the story

It comes to me as a surprise sometimes that my story is not really different than most alcoholics. At least that is what I have seen in the rooms. Always the life of the party, isolated when not drinking, isolated while drinking, the funny guy, the party guy, the guy everyone wanted to hang out with.....till they got too drunk.

I don't remember a lot of things about my drinking, but to this day I remember my first drink. It was at a party at a little club in my home town. Los Cab. Used to play racquetball there, swim, was kinda like the in place to join if you lived in my town. One of the kids in high school had a party, and I never drank but went anyways. I was outside with some of the guys and this kid, Ryan, came up and was like "no one can beat me in chugging a beer, I am the best". Apparently he had beaten like 10 people inside. Being the alcoholic I am, though ha vent drank yet, I said, B.S. Ryan go get me one. Nothing like an ice cold regular Bud for your first drink. Well needless to say I won. Funny enough though I didn't drink much after that. For me it was just winning that bet...I continued to not drink. It wasn't till many years later that my drinking took ahold of me. I could go on a tirade of a drunkalog, but that is not what this blog is for. It is about recovery, where I am at now, where I am going. Not where I have been. I shared this story to point out one thing. I was an alcoholic before I took even one sip of that beer. My DNA was set, my mannerisms in place, my head already thinking like a drunk. It wasn't the beer that made me the alcoholic, it was me. SO as Paul Harvey would say...that is the rest of the story.....

Today I am GRATEFUL for:

The woman at the DMV who was finally kind to me after 4 hours.

The patience of my wife.

Knowing that even in the face of unexpected monies spent, God is watching out for us. We have his favor.

For the hug I got last night as I put my baby girl down and said prayers with her.


First Day, Long Day

Today is a new day. Adventure around every corner and God willing a sober day. I suppose I should start this Blog with my story. I am a 37 year old drunk. My father was a drunk, my mother was a drunk, aint nothin but a family thing. The weird part is until yesterday I never truly believed I was a drunk. I had been in and out of the halls of recovery programs. Had tried everything on my own. Told people I was an alcoholic, but then drank with those same people. Didnt tell some people, and continued to drink with them. The latest events, though not too terrible, have finally shined a light on something. I AM AN ALCOHOLIC. I cannot change that, no matter how much I think I can. I cannot escape that reality. I cannot change my DNA. I cannot, with my will alone, beat this disease. Its funny, though not in a commical sort of way, that almost one year has gone by since I started trying to sober up, and I cant put 30 days of sobriety together. Always thinkging I could beat it on my own and I will be able to drink "normally" someday. Cunning, Baffling and Powerful doesnt even begin to describe alcohol to me. How can a seemingly smart guy let things get this way. That is the whole point I didn't "let" anything happen, no more than the cancer patient "let" cancer in their body. I guess its a good thing, self realization. Although, I feel as if I am starting a race over and over again, and never get to the finish line. I am trying to be grateful daily.

Today I am Grateful for:

A loving wife that works her program.

A beautiful daughter.

The Courage to Change.

Lessons learned, even if they are late in life.

Thanks for reading, I hope you can follow my journey and we can all retreat from insanity.