Blogging to Sanity

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This website is a celebration of sobriety and regaining sanity. It is my hope that by sharing my story and the resources to recovery I’ve found, that others still caught in the trap of addiction can find their way out.

There are many paths to recovery and this site only reflects the path I have followed. The important thing is to look until you find the one that suits you and helps you gain the prize — the awesome joy of a mind focused and clear, no longer the slave of addiction.

This is a personal project and is not affiliated in any way with any groups or people who may be mentioned anywhere in the site. It’s also an ongoing project and will never be quite finished, so check back from time to time to see what’s new.

 
Namaste, Alceon

3100 days sbc!!!!!

post to lsr-safe:

Hi All!

Just a short check in to say yes, I’m still around and double-yes — I’m still sober!

As amazing as it sounds, it’s hard for me to think of any other way of life — this feels so natural and good.

I guess the primary reason for that feeling is how often the thought has crossed my mind the last few months of — what are the words? — how horrible it would have been, how much I would have lost and missed and how my drinking would have made what was already a hard situation even worse for everyone during the days, weeks and months following my dad’s passing.

I was so happy to scan through the posts and see so many names I remember still here and also to see quite a few new ones. Hello to all and a special welcome to everyone new here since I’ve checked in last 🙂 This is an awesome group and I just want to yell loud and clear for everyone to hear: (well not in all caps lol) sobriety is the *BEST*! Do whatever you have to do to not take that first drink — you’ll never regret it.

Best to all,

Alceon

sbc day 3100!

Lise celebrates 400 days sober!

from a post today by Lise at LSRsafe:

Hope !

2012 revisited…I joined LifeRing on December 9th of 2011, it was day 3 for me .
I was miserable! Guilt, shame , self-loathing, remorse and despair had become my constant companions ! I felt like I was in a state of perpetual grief ,I couldn’t think of one good thing to say about myself. I was terribly lonely, sad and depressed. I was so desperate to change my life…. the drinking that initially brought me relief a long time ago had now taken over my life and kept me in a constant state of misery.

Those first few months were hard at times….early on, some mornings I woke up feeling physically worse then when I was drinking. But I have to say that some days were wonderful simply because….I was doing it, I was going to bed sober and waking up with a clear conscience if not a clear head. I hung in there because the good people on this list kept reminding that there would be good days as well as bad days. I believed them.
Today is day 400 for me! That’s 399 days of going to bed sober!

So what is my life like today? My life is not perfect by any means….I still face challenges like everyone does, you know…stuff….
The difference is that I don’t obsess about this stuff like I did when I was going to bed drunk every night. I’m much calmer, my moods are stable for the most part. I have moments of joy and laughter in my life…..real laughter. I have hope. I sleep well. I look my age now instead of looking 10 years older. I have color in my cheeks and my eyes are clear. I feel so much lighter having rid myself of my constant companions noted above.
This is in total contrast of the feelings of despair I felt when I was drinking. I love my new sober life!

I don’t crave alcohol and pot anymore….never! I have thoughts of drinking on rare occasion, but they’re just that ….thoughts….I laugh at them! I mean, these thoughts don’t have any power over me…..the sober Lise is in the driver’s seat now.

I still make sobriety and recovery the number one priority in my life…I will not put myself in dangerous situations. No alcohol in my house, never! I don’t hang out with people who drink….I don’t listen to music that reminds me of drinking and I don’t participate in activities that remind me of drinking.

I take time every day to express gratitude for being sober…..gratitude for the freedom to live my life without guilt , shame and remorse.
I’ll say it again….Everything, and I do mean everything, is better now that I’m sober…..even the bad days!

Lise – sober and smiling!

The miracle of gratitude is that it shifts your perception to such an extent that it changes the world you see….Dr. Robert Holden

 

 

Habit Loops

From Susan at LSRsafe —

Sent: Thursday, March 1, 2012 8:38:57 AM

Subject: [LSRsafe] Re: 1 year anniversary not a good one

Craig,

Another way to look at it is that addiction is a “habit loop.” This is from a NY Times article on marketing:

“The process within our brain that creates habits is a three-step loop. First, there is a cue, a trigger that tells your brain to go into automatic mode and which habit to use. Then there is the routine, which can be physical, mental, or emotional. Finally, there is a reward, which helps your brain figure out whether this particular loop is worth remembering for the future. Over time, this loop–cue, routine, reward; cue, routine, reward–becomes more and more automatic. The cue and reward become neurologically intertwined until a sense of craving emerges….Neurological studies…have revealed that some cues span just milliseconds….

“Habits aren’t destiny–they can be ignored, changed or replaced. But it’s also true that once the loop is established and the habit emerges, your brain stops fully participating in decision-making. So unless you deliberately fight a habit–unless you find new cues and rewards–the old pattern will unfold automatically. (From, “Psst, You in Aisle 5,” by Charles Duhigg, NY Times Magazine, 2/19/12.)”

This helped me understand that whole business of getting up in the morning swearing you’ll never drink again and “finding yourself” buying a bottle after work, and I think that same loop can get activated at times even after years of abstinence. It’s why finding “new cues and rewards,” making a new habit loop, is so critical. Over time, the old one fades, but it never entirely disappears, so you have to keep the new one strong and healthy. For me, it explained why long-term involvement in some sort of recovery group seems to make a difference.

Susan

— In LSRsafe@yahoogroups.com, Craig wrote:

> Greg wrote: “I don’t get it. Shouldn’t I have learned my lesson by now?”

Greg,

One of the hardest things to accept about addiction is its seeming lack of logic, or rather the hidden nature of its logic. We’re used to the “hot stove” type of logic, where you learn from touching a hot stove not to do that again. So it’s hard to understand how we can be drawn to repeat behavior that leads to misery and the risk of death.

The difference, I think, is that there is no reward for touching a hot stove, but there IS a reward for using drugs, including alcohol. It’s short-term, and totally not worth the price, but it is centered in part of our brains that doesn’t care about price. It’s the same part that causes people to get fat — they don’t want to be fat, and they know perfectly well the connection between what they eat and their weight, but they (we) eat too much anyway. And even if we don’t eat too much, we choose foods more for pleasure than for nourishment, damaging our health with every Twinkie.

I think there’s a primitive part of our brains where the desire for pleasure overrides rationality. Cravings aren’t unique to drugs. And by “pleasure,” I include easing pain. In an evolutionary sense, it was important for humans to have a very strong drive to eat when hungry, to mate at every opportunity, to feel pleasure in order to fend off despair. Evolution didn’t prepare us for the refinements of civilization, including substances that are refined to the point that they provide a strong blast of pleasure instead of the milder versions available “naturally.”

The pleasure blast is immediate and the consequences are “in the future” and handled by a different part or our brains. The contest between the two parts is where “recovery” enters the picture: we need to strengthen the thinking (sober) part of our brains and weaken the craving (addictive) parts. We can’t make the craving disappear, but we can shrink it, tie it in chains and lock it away. The cell door has to be guarded, though, or an escape is possible.

The above is my own thinking and is not to be taken too literally.

Craig

Quotations

Sometimes we hear or read something that seems extra meaningful to us. These are quotes I’ve found to be useful affirmations in my quest of permanent sobriety.

Here are a few quotes that I particularly like:

“There’s a difference between knowing the path and walking the path.”

~Morpheus, from the movie The Matrix, 1999

“It is not our abilities that show what we truly are – it is our choices.”

~Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore, Headmaster, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry

“Let us not look back in anger, nor forward in fear, but around in awareness.”
~James Thurber, American Writer, 1894-1961

“Press on: nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not: nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not: unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education alone will not. The world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.”
~Calvin Coolidge, 30th U.S. President, 1923-1929

“If I have a problem, then I should not drink right now. If I don’t have a problem, then I don’t need to drink right now.”
~Jaime at LifeRing Recovery 04-10-06

“There is corn; there are the apples that bear down the branches by their weight; and there are the grapes, nuts, and vegetables. These shall be our food.”
~Pythagoras, 582 B.C.

“Habit is a cable; we weave a thread each day, and at last we cannot break it”.
~Horace Mann

“When a man has pity on all living creatures then only is he noble. The eating of meat extinguishes the seed of great compassion. To become vegetarian is to step into the stream which leads to nirvana.”
~ Siddhartha Gautama Buddha

“If any aspect of your life sucks, getting it unsucked is an inside job. You do not need to import power, for you were born with it; you just need to plug the holes in your bucket through which it is leaking. The quest is about peeling away the lies and illusions you have been told — and went on to tell yourself — that have kept you living smaller than you deserve. When you do, you will be amazed to realize how much you have settled for. Then you will have little patience for halfhearted living and reclaim your right to live from choice rather than default.”
~ Alan Cohen

Namaste, Alceon

Words – Definitions

Definitions

Am I an “alcoholic”? Is alcoholism a “disease” or simply a “condition”? As a self-proclaimed “word-smith” I understand the power of words and the fact that the meaning of a single word can be very relative to the person speaking it.

I think it’s important to understand the book definition of the words we use to speak clearly and have the best chance to have our message understood. But again, the relativity of words means that what you mean when you use a word may not be what the person who hears or reads your words *thinks* you mean. Your words are filtered through that person’s interpretation of what words mean.

Below are a bunch of words, the dictionary definitions of the words and my own reflections about the word.

alcohol • “n. A colorless volatile flammable liquid, C2H5OH, synthesized or obtained by fermentation of sugars and starches and widely used, either pure or denatured, as a solvent and in drugs, cleaning solutions, explosives, and intoxicating beverages. Also called ethanol, ethyl alcohol, grain alcohol.” (thefreedictionary.com

alcoholic • This one has a lot of definitions but my gut level definition is, I don’t need a definition to know I’m an alcoholic.

LB • acronym meaning Limbic Brain, Lloyd the Bartender, Little Bastard, Little Bitch (among others), all referring to the “voice” in your head that keeps trying to persuade you to drink when *you* have decided not to.

limbic • of, relating to, or being a group of structures of the brain

limbic system • concerned esp. with emotion and motivation (The Merriam-Webster paperback dictionary)

namaste(my own definition as rewritten from various definitions found on the web):

I honor the place in you in which
the spirit of the universe dwells.
I honor the place in you where
Love & Peace & Light dwell.
When you are in that place in you,
and I am in that place in me,
then we are One
In infinite timelessness.

secular • 1. not sacred or ecclesiastical 2. not bound by monastic vows (a ~ priest) (The Merriam-Webster paperback dictionary)

sobrietistone who is a practitioner of sobriety (coined by Bill Somers, one of the founders of LifeRing Secular Recovery)

Namaste, Alceon

Words and Sanity

The meanings of words and the things people say — both can be useful tools in a successful recovery.

An inspirational thought can be quite helpful in combating that desire to drink that sometimes flies into your head out of nowhere — and what exactly does the word alcoholic mean?

I’ve collected here under the labels Quotations and Definitions quotes that have been meaningful to me in my continued recovery, as well as definitions of words that are often heard or read in discussions about alcoholism. They’re words that I have a general sense that I know what I mean when I use them, but that are often hard to define precisely when someone else says, “Well, what do you mean exactly?”

Namaste, Alceon