That’s A Good Sign

I’m not religious. But I do ask for signs that something created life and the universe for a reason when I need too.

They may not come right away, and some signs are more subtle than others. But they sustain me in times when my old enemy fear shows up, and causes unhappiness in my life.

Some say there isn’t a god of any kind.  Maybe god is the wrong word to use. If all the signs I’ve received in my sobriety so far tell me anything, it’s to keep trying to believe in more than just this world. Doing so has helped me to love myself, which is a miracle considering how I felt about myself when I was drinking.

Despite the occasional fears I have. I’m no longer a frightened little boy inside. I believe in myself and I know things will be all right, even when they’re not. Because I know I can be all right even when I’m not. It may take what some people call prayer on some days. But I know I can eventually stop feeling worried and afraid and return to my former state of happiness.

Actually, my happiness never fully goes away, because I’m happy with who I am.

Being happy with who I am also sustains me in times when my old enemy fear shows up. And perhaps that is an even bigger miracle, considering who I was when I was drinking.

Some say there isn’t a god of any kind. Maybe god is the wrong word to use.

If all the signs I’ve received in my sobriety so far have proven anything, it’s that I have the ability to create my happiness.

I just need a little help now and then.

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Who Could Blame Me?

“I was good at creating turmoil during my drinking days and I found it easy to blame drinking and others for the outrageous behaviors I exhibited. However, once I stopped drinking and begin to see that the distorted and often negative beliefs I had about myself and life were to blame. With continued help, I was able to change my thoughts and behaviors and create a better life.”

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Relapses Of The Emotional Kind

Although statistics show that less than half of those who remain sober for a year relapse, and less than 15 percent relapse after five years of sobriety, you should still realize that it is a possibility, especially if one is prone to having relapses of the emotional kind. This is when our thoughts and behaviors become similar to the negative ones we had when using a substance and we find it hard to reverse them. Personally, I don’t worry about drinking again when I have an emotional relapse—my behaviors aren’t nearly as bad as they were back then, and I’m able to change my thoughts to more positive ones. And although I do have a healthy fear that under the right circumstances, I could find myself thinking about getting drunk, it would take a lot for me to do so. Along with some huge resentment, tragic circumstance, or complete nervous breakdown, I’d have to entertain the thought of drinking for a long time first, and then decide to drive to a bar, go inside, order my first beer, and then actually pick it up and drink it.

I’m not trying to be arrogant here. I’m fully aware that some drugs are more addicting than others; heroin and prescription painkillers come to mind, as do the unfortunate deaths that can occur from abusing them. However, I don’t believe that relapse is a part of recovery but a part of addiction. It’s a part with the power to kill, which is why I believe it’s important for people to hear that not only is recovery possible, but so is finding greater happiness in life. Today, I know that drinking wouldn’t make one thing better in my life or replace what I’ve found in my sobriety.

I also know that even after all these years sober, it still doesn’t make sense to me to have only a few beers, so I’m sure I’d get shitfaced right from the start.

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And I Love Me Too

“I was never a lover of hard liquor in my drinking days; I simply loved my beer and how it made me feel. Well for a while anyway. Of course, I always loved my family more, but sadly drinking often came first, even when I didn’t want it to.  Thankfully, I found a way to stop drinking and was able to show my wife and kids more love. However, my greatest discovery was finding a love I had heard about and never experienced, which was self-love. After I learned to love myself, and do so unconditionally, I was able to love people, even though I didn’t like them. Love life, even when I was going through unwanted circumstances. And forgive myself, even when I did something I didn’t like myself for.”

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The People I Love

I never asked to have a problem with alcohol, but then who does?   No one asks to become addicted to a substance.  However, some do, and it’s those people I want to help.

I didn’t get sober to grow as a person, I got sober because I wasn’t happy. I didn’t stay sober because of me, I had help along the way until I was able to remain sober on my own. But I did grow and I did become happier in life.

I didn’t write a book and start a blog to say “look at me, ain’t I wonderful.” I did so in an effort to help others look at themselves and see a wonderful person.

So maybe my growth, my happiness, and my passion to help others was meant to be, I don’t know. I just know it helps me love myself.   Something more people need to do, especially those who used a drug to be happy and it failed them, much like alcohol eventually failed me.

I never asked to have a problem with alcohol. But I’m actually glad I did. While there are some things I might like to change about my past, I’m not sure I would.  How would I know the difference between what was and how I feel today?

I’m happier in life. I’m happy with myself. And I’m happy to be able to help others.

None of this necessarily makes us a wonderful person, but it does help us feel wonderful about ourselves. Especially those of us who never asked to become addicted to a substance, but did.

The people I want to help. The people I love. The people who need to love themselves.

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That Idea Just Doesn’t Fly

“In the early years of Alcoholics Anonymous the word pigeon was used as a term of endearment for new members who carried the message of hope and recovery. That’s fine. But with the shame and stigma of addiction still so prevalent in today’s society, the idea of calling someone a pigeon just doesn’t fly with me.” ~Darryl Duke

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Songs Of Sobriety

I write a lot about finding greater happiness in sobriety. And as my regular readers know, much of it is about my personal beliefs and the many things I’ve experienced in life. But what I haven’t written much about are the times when I thought about giving up and drinking again.

Not that I found it extremely difficult to remain sober mind you, I had support and help along the way. However, it wasn’t always easy. There were certain experiences where I asked myself why I was sober and trying to be a better person. And there was one time very early on in my sobriety when I almost said the hell with everything and got drunk. Fortunately, something I remembered reading in the AA literature popped into my mind and calmed me enough to rethink my anger filled plan—the alcoholic at certain times has no effective mental defense against the first drink. His defense must come from a Higher Power. Although there would be a few other occasions when I questioned my sobriety, I thankfully never came that close to drinking again.

Besides the support and help I mentioned, I also did things on my own to stay sober, and still do today. Sometimes this involves looking at old pictures of my wife and two children, both from my drinking days and my sobriety, or pictures of my grandchildren. And other times I read various cards I saved from my wife and kids. However, most times I listen to songs that never fail to remind me why I’m sober.

Below is one of those songs titled, I’m About To Come Alive, by Train. I didn’t even know it existed, but the first time I heard it I believed I was meant to. I wasn’t thinking about drinking that day. It just made me appreciate my wife more and inspired me to keep trying to be a good person.

It still does today.

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