Sober since April 6, 2006


Monday, September 25, 2006


Silence is the answer to many problems.

Silence is also the cause of many problems.

Silence prevents the utterance of destructive words, but causes the turmoil of bitter misunderstanding.

Beware of silence. At times a shield, at times a sword, silence is more powerful and dangerous than it seems.

tolerance, pity, patience

"We realized that the people who wronged us were perhaps spiritually sick. Though we did not like their symptoms and the way these disturbed us, they, like ourselves, were sick too. We asked God to help us show them the same tolerance, pity, and patience that we would cheerfully grant a sick friend. When a person offended we said to ourselves, 'This is a sick man. How can I be helpful to him? Godsave me from being angry. Thy will be done.'"
-Big Book p.66

Tolerance, pity, and patience. I need much more of these -- along with the cheerfulness to share them with.

Geez, I can't remember ever being cheerful to react with tolerance, pity, and patience toward someone who wronged me. "Grudgingly" would be a more accurate term. And even in the end, I still wasn't tolerant, sympathetic, or patient enough anyway.

That's alot to pray for ... but man, I need it.

Sunday, September 24, 2006


(added 9-25-06, 9:14pm EST)

This entry was NOT intended to offend anyone. I'm very sorry to anyone who has taken offense.

The statements made in the following entry were not referencing any specific individuals in my life. They reference a
compilation of insecurities accumulated during several relationships over the past ten years.

The purpose of this entry was to inventory various positive affirmations that have taken me a long time to learn and start believing for myself. This entry was intended to share my ideas and hope with everyone else out there with similar struggles.


Today, I'm grateful for ...

  • being 171 days sober
  • having a family that I love
  • having a supportive AA family that I love
  • realizing that just because someone I love treated me badly:
    • it doesn't mean that I deserved it;
    • it doesn't mean that I'm stupid;
    • it doesn't mean that I'm worthless; and
    • it doesn't mean that there's something wrong with me.
  • realizing that just because someone doesn't love me anymore:
    • it doesn't mean that I'm unlovable;
    • I don't need to change myself to try to make them love me again;
    • I'm not inferior to them; and
    • I haven't lost anything by losing their love - I can't lose what isn't mine.
  • realizing that just because I love someone:
    • I don't need to be loved in return;
    • I don't have to put up with abuse;
    • I don't have to learn to hate them in order to let them go; and
    • I don't have to continue loving them long after they left.
  • realizing that I am worthy of living my own life and sharing it with others, even if someone I love decides that I'm not worthy of sharing in their life

science? religion?

"Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind."
-Albert Einstein

Just an interesting thought ...

Friday, September 22, 2006

"Let it go!"

JJ had an amazing post on her blog today that was exactly what I needed to read. [Click Here] What an awesome lady. Give her a visit!

not-so-awesome post

We interrupt this "Insightful Post Marathon" with an overly-emotional entry:

I feel like I've been crying nonstop for a month, but I haven't shed a single tear. I'm exhausted, stomach twisted into knots, growing increasingly frustrated with myself, and wishing I'd never applied for that job to "win" my boyfriend back. (See? And you people thought I was smart or something ...)

It looks like I'm going to get the job, but I really don't want it anymore after hearing more about it in that second interview. Of course, being the socially-defective idiot that I am, I was too scared and embarrassed to tell the interviewer how I really felt. Someone please slap me.

I feel like can no longer trust any emotion or thought. I can't tell whether I'm thinking alcoholically or sanely. It feels like my mind is constantly alternating between the two, and I don't know how to tell the difference between them yet.

That's all :)

And now, back to our regularly scheduled programming ...

Thursday, September 21, 2006

the illusion of control

After five and a half months of sobriety, I'm finally seeing myself in this passage from the Big Book (p. 60-62):

Each person is like an actor who wants to run the whole show; is forever trying to arrange the lights, the ballet, the scenery and the rest of the players in his own way. If his arrangements would only stay put, if only people would do as he wished, the show would be great. Everybody, including himself, would be pleased. Life would be wonderful. In trying to make these arrangements our actor may sometimes be quite virtuous. He may be kind, considerate, patient, generous; even modest and self-sacrificing. On the other hand, he may be mean, egotistical, selfish and dishonest. But, as with most humans, he is more likely to have varied traits.

What usually happens? The show doesn't come off very well. He begins to think life doesn't treat him right. He decides to exert himself more. He becomes, on the next occasion, still more demanding or gracious, as the case may be. Still the play does not suit him. Admitting he may be somewhat at fault, he is sure that other people are more to blame. He becomes angry, indignant, self-pitying. What is his basic trouble? Is he not really a self-seeker even when trying to be kind? Is he not a victim of the delusion that he can wrest satisfaction and happiness out of this world if he only manages well? Is it not evident to all the rest of the players that these are the things he wants? And do not his actions make each of them wish to retaliate, snatching all they can get out of the show? Is he not, even in his best moments, a producer of confusion rather than harmony?

Our actor is self-centered, ego-centric, as people like to call it nowadays. He is like the retired business man who lolls in the Florida sunshine in the winter complaining of the sad state of the nation; the minister who sighs over the sins of the twentieth century; politicians and reformers who are sure all would be Utopia if the rest of the world would only behave; the outlaw safe cracker who thinks society has wronged him; and the alcoholic who has lost all and is locked up. Whatever our protestations, are not most of us concerned with ourselves, our resentments, or our self-pity?

Selfishness, self-centeredness! That, we think, is the root of our troubles. Driven by a hundred forms of fear, self-delusion, self-seeking, and self-pity, we step on the toes of our fellows and they retaliate. Sometimes they hurt us, seemingly without provocation, but we invariably find that at some time in the past we have made decisions based on self which later placed us in a position to be hurt. (Text bolded for emphasis)

I've read that passage dozens of times. But I didn't see myself in it until now! (How silly is that?)

I am that actor, trying to arrange the show. Virtually all of my decisions are based on fear and selfishness. I've gotten hurt recently because of my selfish behaviors and unreasonable projections.

I'm also coming to the realization that control is an illusion. Attempting to control situations, even with the most righteous of intentions, only results in hurt feelings and demoralization.

The illusion of control reminds me of the opening title of "The Simpsons". When Marge and Maggie are driving down the street, baby Maggie turns her toy steering wheel. The car swerves in the road. She turns her wheel again, and the car swerves again. It looks like baby Maggie is controlling the car! But then the next shot finally shows Marge turning the real steering wheel. Maggie's control was an illusion.

So in my life, I've been Maggie, turning my toy steering wheel trying to control my life while God has the real steering wheel. Sometimes I turn the wheel in the same direction God does, and I experience the illusion of control. But when I turn the wheel and nothing happens, I instinctively feel like a failure because everyone else seems to have more control over their lives than I do.

But everyone else has the same useless toy steering wheel that I have. They are in no more control of their lives than I am, although some of them experience the illusion of control more often than others.

God is taking each of us to our own unique destinations. I really just need to stop comparing myself to others and learn how to enjoy the ride.

... no wonder they tell me to "Keep Coming Back".

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

a beautiful morning

It's the most beautiful day today. This whole summer has been so HOT. But on this beautiful morning, it's crisp and cool. The seasons are changing!

These are some flowers we have outside in our flowerpot:

(I tried to take better pictures, but everything is so close together in my neighborhood that I can't take a picture of anything without getting one of our neighbors' houses in it.)

Funny story:

I noticed the beautiful morning and started this nice, peaceful entry, then went outside for a quiet moment of solitude so I could take a few pictures. Then my hyperactive huge dog got excited for no reason whatsoever and clawed my leg so hard that it left whelps through my thick jeans. Then he started barking loud enough to wake the neighbors and he wouldn't shut up. I finally managed some halfway decent pictures, but lo and behold, the stupid memory card wasn't in the camera. I couldn't find a usb cable to get the pics off the camera, so I had to find the memory card and take more pictures. By the time I resumed writing this entry, I was in a bad mood and desperately needing some peace and quiet, so I closed the door to my room so that I could finish writing this entry. Then my mom got upset and thought I was drinking again, just because I closed the door to my room.

Isn't that how it always goes when we have something "simple" that we want to do? Simple plans have simple expectations, but they never, ever work out. I need to change my expectations to include various interruptions and minor annoyances, or just stop having expectations for anything at all.

But I'm grateful for the fact that I don't have to stay frustrated today. A sense of humor comes in handy, and so does a broad perspective.

So let's start over:

I've been blessed with an amazingly beautiful morning. I have an adorable dog who was so happy to see me this morning that he wanted to play with me! I have a nice digital camera and memory card. I have beautiful flowers, trees, and grass surrounding my home, and they're pretty enough to take pictures of. My neighborhood is so close that I have neighbors everywhere and all around me, so I never need to feel isolated. I have a loving mother who supports my sobriety. I also have a loving and patient relationship with a Power greater than myself, and it likes to give me a few small playful jabs on occasion to help me learn lessons I've failed to learn in the past.

I have every reason in the world to be grateful this morning. And I am grateful for this morning, and for all of its minor interruptions that initially made me frustrated.

The seasons are changing ... and I'm so glad they change.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

the most important prayer EVER

Dear God,

As I go through this difficult day,

Please keep your arm around my shoulders,

and your hand over my mouth.


It's been an interesting past couple of weeks, and what a long strange trip it's been. I desperately need to learn how to shut up. I wish they had a way to remove a person's ability to communicate. I need to have my ability to communicate removed for several months. Maybe a year. Maybe longer.

Maybe some surgeons could temporarily remove the part of my brain used for communication. That's kind of drastic though ...

Perhaps I could start a fashion craze by wearing duct tape over my mouth and non-removable mittens on my hands so that I can't type or write. But then, I suppose, I'd simply find a way to type with my toes ...

Okay, well maybe I just need to grow. (Onoz! ANYTHING but that!)

It looks I'll be needing this prayer more than any other for a long, long time.

Monday, September 18, 2006

I've done wrong

Today, serenity is coming from knowing that my own mistakes and character defects have caused the relationship problems that have been tearing me up lately.

Over the past couple of weeks, I have been trying to find serenity by finding answers to these problems. But that didn't work. Although I found the answers yesterday, the problems are still there today, because the answers I found can't fix the problems.

Why? I found answers to the wrong problems. My real problems aren't with the relationship -- they're with me.

I need to realize and accept that these "relationship problems" are nothing more than my own character defects manifested outside of myself. Sure, some elements weren't exactly my fault. But when I look hard enough, I can see how I contributed to them. And honestly acknowledging my faults and failures is critical. I feel a sense of peace already.

Sometimes problems can't be fixed. Sometimes wounds simply need to heal. And I'm powerless over it all. All I can do is accept it, own up to it, and do the next right thing.

Right or wrong, that's where I'm finding serenity today.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Save me!

I'm not normally a religious man, but if you're up there, save me, Superman!
-Homer Simpson

Saturday, September 16, 2006

in summary

The past two weeks have been productive. I did lots of "firsts":

  • wrote a resume (which I've never done before without a drink)
  • searched for jobs (which I've never done before without a drink)
  • wrote cover letters (which I've never done before without a drink)
  • applied for jobs (which I've never done before without a drink)
  • had a great job interview (which I've never done before without a drink)
  • helped my dad fix my car (which I've never done before)
  • took a broken camcorder in for service (which I've never done before)
  • ... all while being in some sort of mysterious relationship insanity with my boyfriend (I've never been in relationship with such drastic communication problems before.)

The amazing thing is that I haven't had a drink!

You need to understand -- this is coming from someone who used to drink over the anxiety caused by answering the front door. The past two weeks have been utter hell in terms of anxiety -- but I haven't had a drink!

Thank goodness for AA meetings. It's like "connect-the-dots". All I have to do is stay sober until the next meeting ... I can do that.

Within this emotionally chaotic time, there were many moments of serenity -- and they came at the most difficult times.

I believe that if a truly serious life event happens in the future, I will know how to stay sober and find serenity. "There by the grace of God go I."

Today, I'm grateful for ...
  • being 163 days sober
  • experiencing serenity
  • all of those sobriety "first times"
  • my awesome dad -- who fixed my car! Yay!
  • my great family & precious puppy
  • that weird boyfriendish guy. I still love him, even though things are really weird right now.
  • the nice people who read my blog
  • God, who kept me sober

"Dry Drunk"

I've heard the term "dry drunk" mentioned at AA meetings before, but I didn't know exactly what it was. So here's what I've found out:


  • dry drunk: A condition of returning to one's old alcoholic thinking and behavior without actually having taken a drink. This often precedes a relapse into drinking, even if the alcoholic has been sober for years.

  • acting self-important, either by "having all the answers," or playing "poor me."
  • making harsh judgments of oneself and others.
  • being impatient or pursuing whims.
  • blaming others for one's own shortcomings.
  • being dishonest, usually beginning with little things.
  • impulsive behavior which ignores what's best for oneself and others.
  • inability to make decisions.
  • mood swings, trouble with expressing emotions, feeling unsatisfied.
  • detachment, self-absorption, boredom, distraction or disorganization.
  • nostalgia for the drinking life.
  • fantasizing, daydreaming and wishful thinking or euphoria.
  • less participation in a 12-step program or dropping out altogether.
Having just a few of these symptoms is enough to suggest the possibility of being in a dry drunk state.

  • Go to AA meetings
  • Get a sponsor
  • Work the 12 Steps with your sponsor

If a friend or family member has become a dry drunk, AlAnon (a support group for friends and family of alcoholics) is the best place for you to get support. To preserve your own sanity, you need to lovingly detach from your alcoholic loved one, work your own spiritual program, and let them find their own way back to real spiritual sobriety. It's very tough and painful to do. That's why AlAnon exists -- it's a huge group of people all having to do that very same thing.

For online support, I suggest the Sober Recovery Forums. [Click Here] In order to ask questions or make comments there, you will need to register -- but it's free and only takes a few minutes.

Friday, September 15, 2006

successful interview

It seems like the job interview went well. The more I heard about the job and the people who work there, the more I wanted the job! Kind of silly, eh?

But if I take this job, I'll lose my homegroup. Bleh. I'll have to search-and-pick a different meeting every night. It's really best to go to the same meeting every day so that you can get to know everyone, and they can get to know you. So losing that stability worries me a bit.

It probably doesn't matter anyway -- I'm underqualified for the position and probably won't get it. But the interview experience was good. Learned from it. That's the important thing.

As for the rest of the day ... I dunno what to do. Just feeling lost in "what if's" and "why's" and wondering if I'm doing the right thing in other areas of life.

Life was so much easier when the answer to every question came out of a vodka bottle ...

cause & effect

We should be taught not to wait for inspiration to start a thing. Action always generates inspiration. Inspiration seldom generates action.
- Frank Tibolt

Thursday, September 14, 2006

wax on, wax off

In reference to the previous post, I'm not going to "transform" myself into what this guy expects me to. I need to learn to love myself. No more "Chameleon Soul". If he wants someone else, then he needs to find someone else.

Right now, the purpose of my life is to stay sober and work the steps. Nothing else matters.

I have a job interview tomorrow. It will be my first post-college interview that I will be doing sober. I couldn't care less about the job. I don't feel emotionally capable of handling a job yet anyway. I hope I don't get it. I'm really not ready.

The funny thing is, the other day I was driving to an AA meeting in tears because I was so upset by my boyfriend's words. I was chewing myself out for being such a loser. I just knew that nobody would want to hire someone like me, and even if they did, I would just have a nervous breakdown and wind up drunk on the first day.

Right then, my cell phone rang. It was a company that I didn't even apply to, and they were interested in me for a position. I don't know if that's God's "burning bush" for me or what. So I'll go through their interview tomorrow and see what happens. God's will will happen.

I've been going to two meetings every day this week, trying to keep balanced and stay sober. It's been a very upsetting week. Thank God for meetings. I'd be drunk right now without them.

Sobriety first ... do the next right thing ... to thine own self be true ... breathe in, breathe out ... don't drink ...

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

My Chameleon Soul

What do you want to see in me? Tell me, and I'll put it there for you.
Are you looking for success? I'll become successful for you.
Are you looking for intelligence? I'll learn new things for you.
Are you looking for a sense of humor? What kind? I'll add that too.
Are you looking for self-confidence? I can fake some for you.
Are you looking for stability? Okay, I'll hide my feelings inside then.

What do you want to see in me? Who do you want me to be?
What -- you want me to be myself?
Surely not! You wouldn't like what there is to see.
Nobody's ever accepted me as I am, so I've learned to change.
I become all things to all people, so that they might like what they see.
And now all that's left is a chameleon soul, ever changing, ever blending -- but never me.

So here I am, once again re-arranging my life to meet a guy's expectations. I've never been good enough to meet any guy's expectations. There's always some condition held over my head -- if only I was smarter, prettier, funnier, more athletic, more confident, more independent, more ambitious, etc. I'm always lacking some random vital quality that ruins the relationship, and it's different with every guy.

As hard as I try, I can't be all things to all people. I just can't. But I still try anyway.

Are all relationships based on conforming yourself to meet the other's expectations? Is it ever possible to be loved and accepted by simply being yourself?

I'm really confused ... feeling rejected, lonely, and sad.

Be Careful ...

He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.
-Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil, Aphorism 146

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Lack of brain receptors to blame?

I just came across an interesting article. This is what caught my attention:

"Levels of the same brain receptor, called dopamine-2, are lower than normal in alcoholics. Scientists suspect that the lower number of dopamine receptors may prevent alcoholics from feeling intrinsic pleasure, which may motivate them to drink. Similarly, scientists say the higher levels of dopamine-2 receptors in nondrinkers may somehow protect these at-risk people from excessive drinking."

The article also says,

" ... scientists have used gene therapy to increase dopamine-2 receptors in rats primed for alcohol addiction. They stopped drinking. When the new receptors were depleted, the animals resumed their consumption of liquor."

The full article is [HERE].

I've often heard alcoholics berate the drugs developed to cure alcoholism. They specifically laugh at Antabuse and ReVia, because they don't work. No drug can cure alcoholism or make it any "easier".

But I've also heard many AA members say that even if a miracle drug is made that completely cures alcoholism -- a 100% cure -- they still wouldn't take it.

I really don't understand why. I'd be the first in line.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

A Minor Miracle

This is going to sound stupid ... but whatever. We all have our deficiencies.

Today, for the first time in my life, I:

  • searched for jobs online;
  • found one that seemed to stand out;
  • wrote up a cover letter;
  • readied my resume; and
  • applied for the job

-- all without taking a drink!

It's just a tiny thing in the grand scheme of things ... but it's a big deal to me. I've never been able to do that before without taking a few drinks first. It's just too upsetting and stressful.

The cravings still came though. There were several times today that I instinctively thought, "I need a drink". It felt as normal as the thought, "I need to breathe". But at least this time I could identify it and shrug it off without giving in or running away.

I'm glad to finally be able to do this job searching without the bottle. I need to stay sober, but I also need a job. Being financially self-supporting feels like the next right thing to do at this point.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Neat-o Quote

I read this quote attributed to Albert Einstein this morning and thought it sounded applicable to Step 2:

My religion consists of a humble admiration of the illimitable superior spirit who reveals himself in the slight details we are able to perceive with our frail and feeble mind.

- Albert Einstein

Pretty cool to be coming from such a smart guy, eh? :)

Today is starting out to be a good day. I'm trying to remember "First Things First" -- I'm using that as a reminder to read a devotional and pray every morning. Those things should come first every day. They seem to be a good way to start the day :)

Friday, September 01, 2006

I don't wanna sleep!

I got to see The Illusionist today. It's a really good movie, and I enjoyed it! Paul Giamatti (also starring in another summer flick, Lady in the Water) is one of my favorite actors now. He seems naturally easy to identify with and really down to earth. I like people like that.

I've been working on my sleeping patterns lately -- trying to get myself up earlier. I slipped into a bad habit of sleeping until 10am every day. My goal is to work back to getting up at 5 or 6. Of course, that requires going to bed earlier ... ugh.

I wish we never had to sleep. Sleep is such a nonproductive waste of time. Don't we all have better things to do than waste 1/3 of our lives unconscious?

I'm almost finished weaning off the Effexor XR, which I made another post about [here]. Things are starting to feel more normal again. I can't wait to finish getting rid of that stuff. I'd like to have my emotions back.

My dad is the mechanic in our family. He took a look at my car and found what's causing the leak. An old seal under the hood had disintegrated, allowing rainwater into the cabin. He fixed the seal and took out the moldy carpet and seats. We're thinking that cleaning everything up and drying it out should fix everything -- assuming the only leak was that one seal. I suppose we'll find out soon.

I'm so grateful for my dad. Not many people can say that. With all of the turmoil and broken families in the world, I'm very fortunate to have so much love and care in my family. I don't know why God has blessed me in this way, but I'm very grateful for it.