Thursday, 1 July 2010


What is pride? Or more importantly for me, what is pride to someone in recovery?

'Pride' is something I have always thought of as a good thing: taking pride in something I've done, and so on. Yet pride, in this stage of my life, is now deemed a negative thing, and I can see why.

It is pride that stops me asking for help, it is pride that stops me admitting when I am struggling, and it is pride that hinders my return to the rooms after a relapse.

Over the last few months I have had cause to contemplate why I have kept ending up in the same place: drinking once again.

Its not for lack of knowing better. When I very 1st came into recovery I spent a year in rehab, and I have now spent months and months attending meetings - I have knowledge, I am self aware, of both my behaviours and their consequences, in short I know right for wrong.

I was talking to a friend last night, explaining as best I could the recent pattern (revolving door). When I said I wasn't good at being open and talking about my problems she disagreed. Then and there it occurred to me, I can in hindsight very happily exclaim how I felt why I did what I did, but at the time is when I struggle: I hate to admit I am finding things difficult, that I am struggling, or that I need help.

And that is where my pride has fine from being a good thing to a bad thing. We all need help from time to time, I would be there for someone if they put their hand out to me:I just need to learn to put my own outonce in a while.

Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Step 1

For step one, I will read The Doctor's Opinion, and I have been asked to list 20 incidents, results of drinking, that show how unmanageable it got. (Is that the same for everyone, do different sponsors/sponsees do things differently? Who knows, here goes...)
  1. Alcohol = the months at a time of isolation, hopelessness, and depression - not speaking to anyone, holed away in my room.
  2. Alcohol = poor health, terrible physical well begin: poor diet, diarrhea, random aches and pains.
  3. Alcohol = waking up every morning with brutal hangover, both mind and body, which only recommencing with drinking again will cure.
  4. Alcohol = anxiety and stress (especially during 1.) for my family and loved ones.
  5. Alcohol = drink driving / damage to car.
  6. Alcohol = criminal damage, being arrested (and -> 4. -> 1...)
  7. Alcohol = no degree / no career (no maintaining anything!)
  8. Alcohol = lost property: lost mobile phones, money, untold valuables.
  9. Alcohol = waking up with people I shouldnt have (e.g. K when going out with N).
  10. Alcohol = losing many people I care about, through my poor behaviour and choices (e.g. L/ N/ C/ M...)
  11. Alcohol = disastrous interview for M&S.
  12. Alcohol = 1/3 of my life 'wasted'.
  13. Alcohol = lying & deceit (e.g. 'Laura'/'Emma' to G).
  14. Alcohol = over sleeping. (When plastering, BT, Pub...)
  15. Alcohol = no control of my spending/CC use - just booze booze booze, money or not.
  16. Alcohol = losing job, cheques bouncing, arguments with C, fleeing to Wales.
  17. Alcohol = fleeing from Wales - as opposed to 'place to get head together'!
  18. Alcohol = being abusive and snide and nasty, e.g. M in Kingston.
  19. Alcohol = embarrassing and inappropriate flirting (with C @ Illusions, K.C. end of year, C.T.)
  20. Alcohol = stealing drinks when staying round peoples' houses. (L's, M's, N's, Mum & Dads...)
So there are some of my cringe inducing moments, although somehow at the time I could have explained them, or rather though it somehow normal. Or at least a few more drinks and I would have forgotten in no time.

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Honesty & Gratitude

Somewhat unrelated, so bear with me!

First of, I have a bit of a dilemma. When I returned to 'the rooms' 8 days ago, one of things I really struggled with was coming to terms with the fact I had relapsed, again, and see the people I had met from before.

When I bumped into my sponsor, with whom I had previously met up with just the once (he outlined the requirements for step one, and then I relapsed before we met up again), he didn't really remember me, and assumed he had agreed to be my sponsor, but we hadn't met up yet.

This for me is a relief, as it allows me to avoid the feelings of having started, stopped, and failed. I feel a little dishonest letting this self-serving assumption slide: so I shall point this out when we meet tomorrow.

Secondly, last night when I was t a meeting, a few people mentioned the benefits of a gratitude list. So this is my gratitude list, all the things I am thankful for today:
  • My health. There isn't anything wrong with me today, I have my health and all my limbs. Can't ask for more than that.
  • Where I live, I live in a lovely house, in central Hove, with lovely people. It is warm, secure, and has everything I need (except hot water at the mo!)
  • My parents, and my family. Who have stuck by me through thick and thin. They only want the best for me, are incredibly patient and forever understanding.
  • My friends. I have a wonderful support network that - should I choose to, and I should more often - will be there for me whenever I need them
  • My education and skills. I am fortunate enough to have qualifications that mean I can go out and find work. Many people come out of addiction with a lot of catching up to do. I have now got my TEFL qualification, with which I can teach, and even travel the world.
  • I am financially secure. While there are a couple of problems I need to sort out, they are solvable.
  • I live in a society that is able and willing to help me. I can get support from both the government and groups like AA, that will help me get my life back on track.
  • I have a car, and a clean license - I have freedom, and even better job prospects because of this.
  • The weather is stunning at the moment. Which makes living by the sea especially wonderful.
Well there is more I can add: I have the internet, a phone a watch and so on; but I think that is the most the biggies: all in all I am pretty lucky.

Monday, 28 June 2010

Wow 2 Posts in 1 Day, what the...

Just got back from a meeting, a very cosy meeting in Kemp Town, which I hadn't been to before.

I thought I would add something as i am feeling very positive at the moment, in a way that has been missing for a number of months. In short, I am back on track: if only at the very beginning once again.

One thing I have done (hence why I had no excuse to not go this evening) is add all the local meetings to my diary. They are included in the bottom of this page, so if you do find yourself in need - there you go!

The meeting itself was a 'step meeting', this one on step 6. The steps, twelve of them, go as follows:

1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.
2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

The only ones I can get my head around at the moment are:

1. I know I cannot drink, I can not do it socially, intermittently or anything like casually.
2. I have turned to others for help - I cannot do this on my own.

4. I have faults, and need to work on them.

8. Bit of a toughy - but I can see the point, to draw a line under the past, and let go (and in turn not make the same mistakes again!)
9. Say sorry (and again, do not make the same mistakes again!)
10. Don't make the same mistakes again!

You may notice that basically any with something along the lines of 'god' in them I am struggling with. I need not worry about that now though, that much I know. I had started 1 before my relapse - but that is as far as I got. (Which reminds me, I still haven't got on to my sponsor about restarting where we left off.)

"They are in that order for a reason" I have been told, so hopefully, by the race of 'whatever' it will all work out in the end.

An update

Today has been pretty bizarre so far. But before I get to that...

The last few days have been good. I have returned from London and had a few very pleasant and (from the point of view of not drinking) easy days.

I was at a meeting the other day (last Wednesday) and just before, while smoking outside, a lady explained how she'd had a drink, and hated it, and was coming to her 1st meeting since to get back on track. Something occurred to me then, and it might sound obvious but it was a real epiphany. I have been struggling with the fact that I have relapsed, over the last few months, so often: stopping and starting every few days. Each time with a new resolve, yet equally tempted back so easily.

(To try and put this in perspective: I hate drinking, or at least where it leads me, and when I try to stop I desperately want to so much. Yet I repeatedly, despite this, pick up a drink at the drop of a hat - with no internal struggle.)

Frankly, I still want to drink. I like a lot about it. Lets face it drinking is popular for a reason. It does things to people which people like. It gave me confidence, helped me let my hair down, it made me feel good, relaxed and (to a degree) to forget about my worries.

When I have been drinking, a relapse, I get to the point when I desperately want to stop, so when I do it is relatively easy: the cost clearly out weigh the benefits. Yet give it a few weeks, then there will come a point where I am back to wanting the relaxation, the confidence, the toning down of feelings.

I realised that, basically, rather than hoping that some sort of permanent state of not wanting to drink will somehow kick-in, I just have to accept that there will be desire to drink. I just have to live with it.

Oh, and I nearly forgot: why today has been bizarre. This morning I spoke to a friend. She is a devout, and somewhat evangelical christian, who I prayed with. In AA people talk a lot about passing one's will over to a 'higher power', and also the benefits of prayer (there is a humility in this, in asking for help). Well anyway, we prayed.

And somehow it was a really special moment. In so many ways. It was a difficult thing to bring myself to do, but I put my pride aside and with humility got on my knees.

And I can thank my higher power that there was someone will to do that for me.