Introduce yourself or read introductions from others!
Hi. My name is Justin and I'm a grateful recovering alcoholic. 35 days free from drugs and alcohol. This is my second time through recovery. I guess I hadn't hit rock bottom the first time around. I also wasn't very serious about it the first time either, though I did make it 7 months.
My last drink was the worst drink. I managed to get my second DUI, my girlfriend left me the next day for somebody who "didn't have as many problems as I do", I had to move back in with my parents at the ripe old age of 27, and I seriously contemplated suicide. My parents got me in to see a therapist who told me to try AA. I told her I had tried AA but I didn't like it... they were way too negative for me... did nothing but complained about how "dull their lives were now that they were sober, but they were grateful to be there." She told me to try a different meeting. I told her I would think about it. I thought about it... I tried a different meeting, and boy was I surprised! These people weren't just grateful to be there but their lives were far from dull! They had all these exciting stories and adventures about recovery. Needless to say I was impressed.
SO, the first thing I did was I went home and read the first 164 pages of the Big Book. All in one night! Then I ordered a 12x12, Living Sober, and one of those little Hazelton daily meditation books. I kept going to meetings, even to some of the meetings that I originally didn't care for at the Alano Club.
Within a week, I had discovered my Higher Power. I realized that one of my major problems the first time in recovery was that I was trying to believe in somebody else's HP, and not "a Higher Power as I understand him." I meditated, and meditated on it until I began to discover on my own, who my Higher Power was, and what he/she/it could do for me.
Gradually, I got a sponsor. He's probably going to end up being a temporary sponsor because of our age difference but he's somebody I can talk to nonetheless. (He's about 40 years older than me! Late 60's... cool guy though.) My sponsor and I went to an AA sponsored oyster feed tonight. Way fun.
Another thing I've been doing is listening to speaker "tapes" (actually .mp3's, but whatever..). Those have been really helpful. Dr. Paul, Steve B., Irish Annie, etc... Way inspirational!
Journaling. Another helpful coping tool for me.
Working the steps.. I'm sitting on Step 4 right now. No, not literally. I'm just working it really slowly. Trying to make sure that I don't leave anything out. I plan on reading it to my therapist for my 5th step.. (any ideas about this? My sponsor said it would probably be better for me to read it to her than to him and to be perfectly honest I think it might help me better if I DO read it to her... it will give her more to work with, hence helping me more in the long run.)
Am I leaving anything else out? Probably. Surfing this forum for new ideas... HELPFUL!
Ok. Now for some issues that have risen.
People who aren't in the program have been warning me about doing this for somebody else. They think that I might be doing this for my ex-girlfriend. I'm not. I'm doing this for me and only me. My ex-girlfriend is out of the picture until it comes time to make amends with her... and I'm saving her for last. If I am doing this for anybody else, I'm doing this for the courts even though I haven't been court ordered yet. I will be eventually but that's not what brought me to AA. Divine intervention brought me to AA. And as far as romantic relationships go, I'm taking a year off... or 6 months. I haven't decided yet. My sponsor said if I wanted to "go get laid right now" he wouldn't stop me. (like I said he's in his late 60's....) The crazy thing is, is as soon as I got single and got sober all of these relationship opportunities started popping up. Opportunities with some really remarkable sober people (sober for their own reasons, not necessarily alcoholic)... unfortunately I've committed myself to staying out of relationships for awhile.
In regards to friends. My poor, poor friends. I have some very good, very supportive "normie" friends who either don't drink or don't drink around me, and have been there for during this last month. Tonight one of them wanted to hang out but I couldn't because I was going to this AA function out of town. He said, "Fine. Have fun at your AA thing with your new friends." I couldn't tell if he was being serious or if he was joking but it hurt nonetheless and I've heard and read about friends, family, significant others doing this to people who are new in the program. Any thoughts?
And the problem that's driving me the craziest. Insomnia. I can't sleep. I get off of work every Monday through Friday at midnight. I'm awake on average until 6 or 7 o'clock in the morning. While I was still drinking and still with my ex I was up until about 4 o'clock in the morning. (this drove her crazy!) Ideally I would be able to fall asleep right when I got home from work. That way I'm not asleep until 2:30 in the afternoon. In a perfect world I would be awake by 8:00am. Be able to enjoy my day like the rest of the world. But no matter what time I set my alarm for, I reach over, shut it off, and fall back to sleep. I seriously need help with this.
Ok. I think I got everything off of my chest that I've needed to get off of my chest. Like I said, I've been surfing this forum for a few weeks now and this is the first time I've posted. I've mostly just been "listening." I'll do my best to check in here daily. It's good to meet you all. Especially Dallas and Garden Variety.. I've gotten so many wonderful insights and ideas from you. And please, if it sounds like I'm surfing a pink cloud, bring me back down to Earth. I need all the help I can get! Thanks a bunch.
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- Joined: Wed Oct 31, 2007 4:54 am
Hey Justin! Good to hear from you! Welcome to the forum!
It's good that you found some different meetings and some different people in the Fellowship. A.A. is huge! It's all over the world. And, it's not a bad deal at all.
Your experiences remind me much of what it was like for me when I first landed in A.A. My head had me being so unique and legendary that I began to feel pity for those poor pukes in A.A.
They seemed to be good people, but with nothing going for them. And, gees.......... they were lame!
I got sober in Los Angeles, and when I was about 60 days sober I went to my first A.A. Convention... the San Fernando Valley AA Convention, in Studio City. WOW! What an eye-opener!!! I saw musicians that I used to play music with in garage bands that went on to become big and famous (while I spent my time getting stoned)... and, they were in A.A. I saw people that were on the TV shows and in the movies... that I admired... who were having successful careers... while I had a bunch of court cases, law suits against me and tons of troubles related to my drinking... and the successful people were in A.A. And, there was about 3,000 or 4,000 AA members there... having fun, laughing, joking, driving nice cars, chicks that looked like they had just stepped out of some fashion magazine, people in suits and formal dress, and tons of tatooed bikers! What a mix! It was like the greatest show on earth -- with people that I really admired, not only for who and what they had become -- but, because these people had found a way to be happy........... while sober!!! What a concept!
My sobriety lasted about 5 1/2 months, and after I started drinking again, and couldn't get sober....... I realized that I was the pituful puke that couldn't even make it in A.A.!!!
Like you -- when I got a second chance, I really threw myself into A.A. with everything I had. Unfortunately, for me... it took me longer than the average alkie to start getting better -- and I was doing everything I could to do the deal. I guess in the long run, that was good for me. I learned that alcoholism really is progressive.... regardless if we're drinking or sober. The physical reaction to alcohol gets worse.... and, if I took my sobriety lightly and relapsed... chances were nil that I would get a 3rd shot at it.
My life is pretty good today -- because of what A.A. has done to me and for me.
One thing I did different my second time around, was I started hanging with the old guys! I had one, who became like my best friend, and he was 92 years old!!! He really knew how to have fun and enjoy life. And, the young chicks really loved him -- because of who and what he was, and what A.A. had done to him. He knew how to stay sober... have fun... and live for a long time! He had lots of friends. His friends treated him very well. He was respected and loved wherever he went. And, when I would hang out with him he would pass on to me knowledge, tips and suggestions, that it would have taken me 92 years to get! One night -- on his birthday -- they even lit up the huge sign inside Dodger Stadium -- with his name in lights, wishing him "Happy Birthday, Ben!!!"
Now, my physical age is getting up there -- but, people like my friend Ben, taught me how to stay forever young.
The real secret that I believe that I've discovered, and the key to sobriety and a great and wonderful life is -- surrender. Surrendering to a Higher Purpose in Life, as you understand it. Seeking to know and do the will of the Higher Purpose - instead of seeking to live and do and be according my will. And, trying to develop some structure, discipline and emotional maturity in my life. The reason that I have to practice surrender everyday, is because my old way of living, my old thinking, and my old design for success and achievement will always return me to that pitiful puke stage. And, surrender sets me free -- to achieve.
Justin, glad to have you here with us!
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Hi Justin, and welcome!
When I first came into AA, I was taken "under the wing" of several old-timers ranging in age from 72 to 87! At 51, I was their "baby". They had a wealth of wisdom that I still treasure. I called them my "over the hill gang", and we used to go out for dinner every other week -- I have never laughed so hard or had so much fun! As a result of their friendship and tutelage, I received a crash course in AA -- I learned the nuts and bolts of AA, and the framework for living sober.
I think it's great that you have decided to take time off from relationships for a while -- it's hard to share yourself with someone else when you don't even know yourself yet.
I wouldn't take what your friend said too seriously -- it may have been just a pang of jealousy over your spending time with other people. If this person has been supportive, there's no reason to believe he will stop. There are those (usually drinking buddies) who may resent your choice to live sober, and who may try to sabotage your efforts but that doesn't seem to be the case here. You have every right to explore new experiences as a sober person, in or out of AA, and it's important that you keep commitments that you make.
As for the insomnia -- why would you want to go to sleep immediately after getting home from work? Think of it this way -- if you got off work at 5:00 pm, would you want to go to sleep right away? Most folks I know who work a late shift adapt to that lifestyle -- they come home, eat, watch TV, read, etc., then go to bed when they get sleepy. Instead of trying to fit in with "the rest of the world", maybe the answer lies in accepting that this IS your world, at least until you change jobs or change shifts.
Congratulations on 35 days -- remember that it's just one day at a time! You've made a great start on a wonderful journey -- enjoy it!
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- Joined: Tue May 22, 2007 8:31 pm
Welcome, and congratulations on 35 days!! It sounds to me like you're doing a lot of great things to build a foundation in recovery.
I'm not sure why an age difference matters with a sponsor; my sponsor isn't my best buddy, we don't hang out together, don't socialize together -- I know some do, some form best friend relationships, but it's not a requirement. My sponsor is a sober person who has walked before me, who has sobriety I admire, who has guided me through the 12 Steps and continues to guide me in applying them to my everyday life.
I love listening to speaker tapes!! Today I got to hear in person two speakers that I've enjoyed on tape...it was such a pleasure to put faces to the names!
No ideas from me about doing your 5th with your sponsor, other than you can pick whomever you desire.
Friends - well, a few didn't understand why I put AA in such a prominent place in my life. I explained it, once or twice, and then stopped explaining. If they didn't accept that, the friendship drifted, and that's fine. Life is full of shifts and changes, people come in and out of my life at different times for different lengths of time, and it's been a blessing that I am able to understand that. I used to cling and think that everything was "for life". Now I"m okay with transition.
As for the insomnia, I didn't have it when I first came in...but I do occassionally have it now, due to some medications I take, and a cup of Sleepy Time tea before bed works wonders.
Thanks for sharing with us; hope to hear more from you.
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- Joined: Mon Apr 17, 2006 3:42 pm
- Location: Long Island, NY
Welcome. Glad you can join us.
For me the insomnia thing lasted about 3 months. Every now and again, I get insomnia still. But when I look close at what I put into my mouth, I usually find the answer.
If I want insomnia, I drink regular coffee after 8PM. Guaranteed to keep me awake. I also am on a pretty rigorous vitamin supplement routine, so if I want to stay awake, I take vitamins after 8PM. That's a surefire way to stay up. But I'm guessing the insomnia is bugging you, so watch what you consume after 8PM.
Also, if you smoke cigarettes, you are inhaling a stimulant drug known as nicotine that will get into your bloodstream and stay there for a while. I only smoke a cigarette maybe once or twice a year, but when I do, it gets me going faster than a couple cups of coffee. I can feel my heart beating faster almost immediately. This would definitely keep me awake. In fact that's why I'll smoke every now and then and that's when I'm driving on a long drive - it keeps me alert and awake.
About the realtionship thing, for me I have to "turn it over" to the God of my understanding. I pray for a pure heart in this area. Sometimes the answers are not what I think. Sometimes living sober can get in the way of a significant other's agenda, then trouble brews. I try to remember that another person cannot make me happy, and I can't make them happy either. If you read another post, I believe that happiness is a byproduct of living right - which is for me taking actions and doing things that help others.
I don't know about putting your ex last on the list. What I was taught is the ones I hurt most are the ones that need to be taken care of most urgently. Usually that is my family, and it was my ex who I hurt most. But your sponsor and God will guide you better than me. Which brings me to the last point.
You said it right about Honesty, Openmindedness, and Willingness (H.O.W.). The only thing left for you to do if you have those 3 things is to pay attention!
God bless and thanks for joining us.
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