Category Archives: Suggestions

Me, me, you?


Day 260

“If you ever want to be unhappy, just sit down and think about yourself all day.”

When I heard this in a meeting it resonated, but it’s amazing how quickly I forget.

Living in a pre-Copernican state of mind where the universe revolves around my life is the fast track to going nowhere.  Self-talk makes my world so small; there’s no room for growth, and there’s certainly no room for anyone else.

In trying to obtain what I “needed” this past week to make me “happy,” I made myself extremely unhappy.  What I was seeking most vehemently was validation from others to placate my own insecurities.

If permitted, unrestrained self-centered fears will throw raging pity parties in my head; I’m not smart unless someone says so, I’m ugly until someone tells me I’m not, I’ll buy clothes to make me feel pretty, then traffic on the way home from buying clothes I couldn’t afford becomes the biggest inconvenience on earth. Then after wasting so much time on myself, an AA meeting becomes burdensome and I grow resentful of the meeting and everyone involved.  (Not me…everyone else.)

This cycle has run me around before and it will run me around again, anytime I fail to see people beyond my vision of falsified self-importance.

A wave of relief washed over me when I received the opportunity to help someone today–it was like a spell being broken.  Oh yeah, I thought, this is what it’s all about.

There’s that cliché saying, “It doesn’t matter what’s on the outside, it’s the inside that counts.” And that’s true…in terms of appearance, but not in the cognitive sense.  Sometimes I need the outside to fix the inside, so I can spend the day standing up to help others, not sitting down and thinking about myself.

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35 Ways You Know You’re in Early Sobriety

1.  You have best friends but you don’t know their last name, and you know their sobriety date; not their birthday.

2. When you refer to the Big Book, you’re not talking about the bible.

3. What’s moderation?

4. You can relate to meth heads and heroin addicts more than you can your own mom.

5. Spending $20 on candy for yourself on a Friday night is completely justifiable because, “you’re not consuming all those calories you would if you were still drinking.”

6. You find yourself standing around in a lot of parking lots.

7. Over half your friends live with their parents.

8. You just found out that you’re selfish.

9. Being spiritually fit is more important than being physically fit.

10. Beer commercials have ruined football, forever.

11. You can’t help but grin manically at people suffering from a hangover.

12. Holidays are the leading cause of isolation.

13. You feel like you’re growing up, and down, at the same time.

14.  You have to be reminded to sleep and eat and ask when you need help.

15. Almost everything is your sponsor’s fault.

16. You probably already hate your first sponsor.

17. You’re still a little embarrassed to admit that you pray.

18. There are probably a dozen other addicts and alcoholics in your family.

19. When you tell people you’re going to a meeting and it has nothing to do with work.

20. You’re sick of phrases like, Let go and Let God.

21. When going to a meeting is more important than saving yourself from the apocalypse.

22. You are strongly suggested to stay away from the opposite sex, so naturally you are extra tempted to gravitate toward the opposite sex.

23. Seeing someone from the program around town makes you feel like you guys should have a secret handshake.

24. There is never a time you don’t smell like coffee grounds or cigarettes.

25. You are becoming increasingly okay with going to bed at 9:30.

26.  You have some sober friends who don’t understand, and say things like, “it’s all about will power,” referring to your addictions and alcoholism.

27. Everyone is out to get you.

28. If a door is closed, the people on the other side are definitely talking about you.

29. Salt looks like cocaine.  Ice water looks like vodka on the rocks.

30. V8 will never not smell like a bloody mary.

31. You often feel like you’ve been diagnosed with a terminal illness.

32. When a friend switches home groups, it’s like he or she has died.

33. Your conversations consist of everything from crack cocaine and death to rainbows and butterflies.

34. If you go through the day without making a gratitude list you feel like you’re on the brink of relapse.

35. You can probably relate to everything on this list.

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No Sex in the AA Rooms

Ohhhh that's why


Day 225

The last healthy relationship I had was in 7th grade.  We’ll call my middle school “man” John Smith Anonymous.  Smith Anonymous and I hit it off after my best friend dared me to wear sneakers on my hands, run past his house, and scream, “I’M A PENGUIN.”  I waddled my awkward little 12-year old legs and everything.  Guys must’ve been into that back then because he asked me out the next day.

There was a lot of handholding and note passing reassuring one another that we were still in love; he bought me earrings from Claire’s one time and put them on a beanie baby; in case you don’t speak Generation Y, FYI, that was a BIG deal.

Albeit, our relationship met an untimely death in 8th grade and I don’t remember why.  Maybe he saw me flirting with another boy on the blacktop, or maybe I dropped his super chicken sandwich on the cafeteria floor and it was game over, OR it could have been that he joined the other boys in the “rattie-tattie-you’re-a-flattie” chant, and I threw a binder at his face as I ran off to the girls room crying.  At least I’d like to think there was some binder throwing.  I’d also like to think were no tears, but that’s just not true.  Kids are fucking assholes.  Hash-tag resentment.

Fast-forward 14 years.  I’m skipping over the trauma I live with from college comparable to PTSD, I’m ignoring the years in high school when I couldn’t stop looking in the mirror to count my flaws and cringe (how could I ever let a boy look at the same face?), (ok I still do that, but not as often), and skipping the most recent mentally abusive relationship I was stuck in and let myself stay in;  by relationship I’m referring to the text book definition: “the way in which two or more people behave with each other.” Over the course of  nearly 2 and 1/2 years I lost almost lost every shred of dignity.  The “behavior” made me hate myself on a level I have only just recognized, now that my mind is becoming a healthier habitat and I know what respect looks like. I have had to make daily, conscious efforts to restore self-respect and self-worth.

By the time I left California I wanted out from everything.  With fear as my passport and anger as my driving force I decided to buy a one-way-ticket to Central America.  I went to AA instead.

Since then, I have been in recovery from drugs, alcohol, messed up thinking for 26 years.  So granted, I am not in any hurry to get anywhere near a relationship again, but I do understand why AA strongly “suggests” not to date in the first year of sobriety.  For me, anyway, I know it’d be as destructive as drinking.

Comfort in my own skin is a long way off, but the steps are bringing me closer. No one should influence my new, gradual yet groundbreaking changes.  The goal is to look in the mirror and see a self-sufficient woman of dignity and grace, and that sinew has to come from within, without a guy to give or take my strength away.  I don’t even think it’s possible for me to be in a healthy relationship right now.  Unless it’s comprised of handholding, note passing, and double dares.

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