tough week

Help for alcohol abuse addiction alcoholics who want to stay sober
garden variety
Posts: 750
Joined: Fri Aug 04, 2006 7:39 pm

Postby garden variety » Wed Oct 15, 2008 11:37 am

Well Well Julie.

Congrats on making it through that rough day without picking up a drink.

Hey - you taught me something. No - you confirmed something I already knew:

"Practical experience shows that nothing will so much insure immunity from drinking as intensive work with other alcoholics. It works when other activities fail."

Julie, you lived the Big Book by dealing with your son the way you did on that Friday. I'm proud of you. And I thank you for showing me exactly how simple the solution to alcoholism can be.

Now when I suggested you pray, I was assuming you "came to believe" as your words tell me. I don't know about anyone else, but a simple honest prayer like "God help me to stay sober" has worked for me. Every day for a long time. That prayer worked before I ever knew what the steps were. I don't doubt it today. I believe that prayer is one of the most powerful tools in the toolkit. I also believe that a sincere prayer (not a "foxhole" or "jackpot" prayer) never goes unheard, because I believe that there is a loving God who will help me even when I don't know how to help myself. In my expereince, if a prayer isn't working, I'm not trusting or believing.

So I guess the core of the issue is "willingness". If I'm not willing to trust a Power greater than me, then I have a backup plan. It means that I'm "hedging my bet" on the so-called "Power of the Universe". It means that I'm doing more than doubting. It means that I'm not willing to go to any length to "find" a God of my understanding - which the book tells me all 12-steps are "exactly about" - helping me find a God of my understanding where I can get the power to solve my problerm of alcoholism. It means that I still want to control what I think should be the outcome of my life and sobriety. It means I haven't took the 3rd step.

For me, I came to believe (step 2) which meant to me there was this "Higher Power" somewhere that I could "bet the ranch on" that it would keep me sober. Your stories - your "personal adventures before and after" really did make it clear to me that some kind of "God could and would" give me the power to stay sober if "He were sought". I knew I couldn't keep me sober. I became convinced that you all couldn't keep yourselves sober, either, without the Power of a God of your understanding. So step 2 made it clear to me that there weren't many choices left.

Which is where the 3rd step came in with me. Step 3 was easy after step 2. Step 2 was the hard one for me - to be convinced about myself, my illness, and my lack of a defense against the 1st drink. I thought I could do all of the above on my own. Thank God your stories convinced me otherwise.

So when I got to step 3 - I tell you what - I was beat up so bad that my life wasn't worth living, and I had tried to end it which thankfully wasn't a successful endeavor. "THERE WAS NOTHING LEFT FOR US BUT TO PICK UP THE SIMPLE KIT OF SPIRITUAL TOOLS".

Step three was a simple "choice". Today I made that choice - that decision. If and when I make that decision, then the whole course of my actions are changed whether I want to see it or not. I WILL take action on my decision - even if that action is "inaction" or the failure to take action.

To me, step 3 means one thing, and one thing alone. In one word it means CONSENT. I don't see it as "surrender" - my life isn't that dramatic or important, and I didn't have anything to give up. "THERE WAS NOTHING LEFT". The only thing I can do at this point is "consent".

Just like asking my mom to sign a "permission slip" for me to go on a field trip in elementary school. Mom "consented" by signing. She didn't "surrender" anything. She just gave the school permission to take me on a field trip. It also meant that she trusted the school enough to take her place in caring for me on that field trip.

Ere-go step 3: I give that same "Power of the Universe" or the "Infinite Intellegence" my permission to be my caretaker. Why? Because I couldn't and wouldn't care for myself anymore, but step 2 showed me some kind of Power came into your lives that was keeping you from drinking. So I gave that power my permission to do the same thing in my life and with my will. And I trusted this Power enough to know it could probably do a better job at caretaking than I could. So I CONSENTED. Which is what step 3 means to me. I didn't have to "understand" anything other than this "Power" was some kind of "loving God" that I could trust more than myself. That was easy because "myself" got me to the point of "THERE WAS NOTHING LEFT".

Also Julie, let me tell you from the bottom of my heart "I understand" about your boy. I had one son take a knife to me. I had another boy nearly clobber me with a dining room chair. I felt so threatened once with one of my sons that I took out my shotgun and was going to use it. This came while sober and after I worked through the steps.

See, the 12-step program of recovery does not have sufficient power to stop my sons from getting high and being "dangerously anti-social" unless they choose to work the program. My "consent" in step 3 doesn't mean my son won't get drunk, steal my car, and wreck it. "Turning it over" to a God of my understanding won't protect me from someone else's drunken impulse to stab me, beat me, steal from me, lie to me, and then ask me to love them. Talk about making life crazy?

When I had the shotgun in my hand facing a menacing and raging young man coming at me, my own flesh and blood, my first thought wasn't "what step should I be working"? My first thought was a simple prayer, "God help me - PLEASE!" It was my sincere heartfelt request at that moment. I was just like a little kid who was frightened and afraid of the monster in front of me that looked like it was going to hurt me or kill me. I didn't have a backup plan. I never faced anything like this. My "decision" now meant life or death to another. But that prayer worked.

It had to work if there IS a loving God. It is the responsiblility of a loving God to turn away "evil". Why? Bcause my heart at that moment wanted only what was good and right. I wanted only what a loving God would want.

I believe in the power of prayer. I've learned the simple ones from the heart are always heard. But I'm also firmly convinced that the 12 steps will give me a relationship with a loving God that allows faith to grow within me enough to trust in the power of prayer.

Now nothing I wrote here is saying that you shouldn't take the steps - and quickly. I believe there is no time better than today to get working those steps. Like they say around here, if I'm out on the ocean drowning, I don't need to wait around after someone throws me the lifeline. The way I see it in the book is that when we were willing, desperate, and reached our bottom, then it was "our turn" to grab the solution of the 12 steps with the desperation of drowning men (and women).

That also means to me that once I get started, I don't stop for a vacation between any of the steps. And like Dallas said, I give my best effort to get into step 9 - I don't have to complete it. I found that there is a real distinctive "turning point" about the middle of step 9. That's the point where I started becoming "amazed" and have been amazed ever since.

Thanks again Julie, for being a great example of how this deal works and for helping me. Take the actions that are in the steps and I'm betting you'll find peace following close behind.

God bless,

Posts: 267
Joined: Thu Sep 18, 2008 8:50 am

Postby Jools » Mon Oct 20, 2008 10:08 am

Good morning Paul and thank you for your "lengthy" reply..haha, just kidding!

Don't give me too much credit there, Paul, because Trey was back at home the next day. He is currently going to meetings, working and fixin' to start school for his HS diploma next week. I think he has gotten high a couple of times since I let him back in, but I have no control over that, I only THOUGHT I did.....accept the things I cannot change. I have asked God to take care of him and that's all I can do for today. Change the things I can.....he's not using my car anymore, he's not using my phone, he's going to meetings as long as he lives under my roof, he's going to work and go to school. The car and the phone thing really make it inconvenient for us, but it doesn't make getting high so easy for him. :D

I've believed in God most of my life, I just never truly turned my will and my life over to His care. I don't know why? It seems so much simpler than what I've lived thru these past years. BTW the field trip is a very good analogy and I appreciate you sharing that. I love the part "she trusted the school enough to take her place in caring for me on that field trip". I trust God enough to give Him permission to take care of my life. And this bit...."I didn't have to "understand" anything other than this "Power" was some kind of "loving God" that I could trust more than myself. That was easy because "myself" got me to the point of "THERE WAS NOTHING LEFT". There isn't any thing left for me to do BUT allow God to care for me and my will, but I am willing to do the action necessary for that to come about.

I reread everyone else's posts. It's amazing to see how they're different for me today than they were last week. I can see clearly now the rain is gone...:wink:


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Postby sunlight » Mon Nov 03, 2008 2:35 pm

I was thinking of you, Julie, when the weekend was over.

Thursday Oct.30 my son shows up at my door. He got a ride from a rehab he's in 250 miles away to celebrate his birthday Nov.1. I could not find it in myself to turn him away, even tho I swore I would never let him in my house again.

I come home from work on Halloween & he's sick in bed. I KNEW he'd been using, but had no proof. He was in bed his entire birthday & spent 3 days immobilized. Then he said he wanted to go to the hospital. I told him to ask his dad, as it was late & I had to work in the morning.

His dad got him & I laid down to pray & meditate. Then the intuitive thought came: check his backpack. I did & found a needle & spoon.

I am a fool. I let my heart rule my head. Someone once pointed out to me about a sign on our Fellowship club wall, The sign says THINK THINK THINK not FEEL FEEL FEEL!"

But I'm so excited about that intuitive thought, which is always like a bolt of lightning, that I can't be TOO down.

Thank you for letting me share.

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Joined: Sun Mar 23, 2008 2:14 am

Postby debvan » Mon Nov 03, 2008 4:18 pm

Hi Sunlight,

I can empathize with you so much. Our oldest son went through a self induced hell of pill, drugs and alcohol.

During a span of a year between mid 20 and 21, he was in the hospital or ER every month. If it wasn't for an accidental overdose or too much alcohol to the point of alcohol poisoning, it was for depression and suicide attempts. After his last rehab, 7 or 8 years ago, he went into an Oxford house. And his father and I said he would not return home. For a visit, yes. An hour or two but no extended stay.

We did pretty good until he was kicked out of the house while going to a vo-tec shool. Where could he go? You know the rest. This only caused lots of drama and constant tense energy in the air at home.

I was once told we make mistakes because we are human. And we are human because we make mistakes. Redundant but true. I have made my share and still am. God does not think any less of us because we make mistakes or because we are human. Or because we think and feel or keep our hearts open most likely knowing the obvious while doing just the opposite because we do have feelings.

So if keeping my opinions to myself is something I do, of which I don't, I do not think you are a fool. You are human. You are a mom. All of us make mistakes! And God loves you!

I hope I made sense.

Take care of yourself. Deb

garden variety
Posts: 750
Joined: Fri Aug 04, 2006 7:39 pm

Postby garden variety » Mon Nov 03, 2008 4:51 pm

Wow Ladies - That is some pretty heavy sharing. Thanks for showing me some of that "reality" stuff.

I know a fellow that has a son that he loves very much like you do. His son is often running from the law, dodging jail, and also uses substances. Some of what he's experienced is like what you're talking about. I met the kid - I like the kid. He's just in his early 20's. He gave me some things to think hard about.

I took one of the kid's friends to the psychiatric hospital last week about 130AM. The kid went with him. The friend was wanting to commit suicide - I seen that he slit his wrist, but not real deep. The friend was a real wreck. He couldn't hold his head up. I felt bad for him and there really wasn't much I could say. I been to many funerals where young men killed themselves. I have a cousin my age, who took his life over the summer. He wasn't an alcoholic or dope user. But he died just the same.

Anyway the kid went with me, and he did all he could to comfort his friend. We talked a bit. He told me that he knows what it's like to "crash" off of pills - to wake up sick and not be able to sleep because he's burning up with sweat one minute and so cold he has to bundle in a hoodie the next. He talked about AA too. He said it's all fine and dandy if you don't have a felony chasing you around. He said you (meaning me) have a good job, and don't have to worry. But he don't have anywhere to turn. Nobody will hire him with a record.

Right now, he's not addicted to anything except "pot" which he says is his choice. He even said "addicted if you want to call it that". But I somehow knew the kid could stop using it if he wanted to. He came off "oxy's" cold turkey. He's seen and probably experienced every street drug there is. He told me he'll "do what he has to do" to "cop" drugs for his buddies. He won't take them, but he'll "cop" them, take the risk, and make a few bucks on the side just to help him feed his daughter and keep a roof over their heads.

He says, what do you do in AA? Don't we do the same thing? He'll get a call from a friend who is "pill sick" in the middle of the night. He knows whoever is calling him is desperate and needs what they need. These are not "kids" that all of the sudden run into some "demonic pusher man" - that get them hooked. They're guys just like your sons who created their own crisis. He'll have them over, give them what they need to get over their hump, and they're on their way.

Then he really got me. He said, those guys know how to quit. He said they'll quit when they realize it's time to quit. Nothing he could say or do will make them quit using any sooner. The thing that moved me was that at 21 or 22, this kid spoke from his own experience. He knew about withdrawal from more drugs than I even want to think about. Yet he knew the same thing it takes many of us in this fellowship a long time to realize: there is nothing I can do to make a person have the willingness to stop drinking.

Then he zeroed in on me again with AA. Don't I do the same thing. If I get a 12-step call in the middle of the night, and a guy or gal is about to go into withdrawal, what do I do? He said you go out and buy him beer so he doesn't detox too fast, right? Then you send him to a halfway house or treatment center, and you're pretty much done with him. Maybe 8 out of 10 times, the guy will go back out drinking again. You tried. You helped as much as you could, then you went on about your business. He looked at me. "What's the difference between you and me?"

I left that kid's house pretty puzzled, but also amazed. He impressed me. Yes he's not the kind of kid anyone with years of sobriety would have anything to do with. He's in trouble many times. But I was also sort of "awestruck" by him. He was making it in life, really as best he could. He knows he won't be able to show up at his mom or dad's house anymore - like your sons have done. He's burned those bridges. I was also uneasy leaving that kid's house too.

I realized that he really was "living life on life's terms" just like me. He wasn't "hard-core" stoned or addicted. He was "sober", not even high on pot when I saw him and talked to him. He seemed to know where his shortcomings were, and tried his hardest every day to avoid getting caught up in them - just like me. He lived in a pretty good neighborhood, and he had his own furniture, stereo, TV, bed, and a clean bathroom - just like me. He even told me about an "experience" he had that was "near death" that showed him that he shouldn't be careless with his life, and he also told me "God revealed Himself" to him in a way that he could not deny.

Yet if you were to see a fellow like me, or Dallas, or some AA Long-timer, standing next to this "kid", you'd think we are worlds apart. He won't be voting tomorrow because he is a felon. He won't be buying booze - even though he is over 21 - from the corner food mart because he can't get his license or ID renewed without the risk of arrest. You won't see him in a club or bar. But this same kid was in the same kind of situations that your sons are in. He knew, like they probably know, when the time comes, it's time to get clean and stay clean.

It really is eerie to think a minute, then realize this "kid" and all of us "good sober AA's" have quite a lot in common. Kind of makes me feel uneasy in a way that I can't quite explain. I sure learned a lot from this kid. I can see why his dad loves him like he does, but at the same time is horrified of the life he lives.

God bless him, and God bless your sons, too. They'll probably make it to someplace similar to this kid - which maybe ain't so bad. I know this kid isn't the "dream child" of anyone. But somehow, he's figured out a lot of things, and he's managed to build himself a life out of the ashes - just like you and me.

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Postby sunlight » Mon Nov 03, 2008 5:59 pm

Thank you so much for your sharing. Your words are a soothing balm on an aching heart.

My son is VERY smart, even with, or maybe even BECAUSE of, his mental illness. But he has lost control of his drug use & is no longer the savvy, street-smart man he used to be. The monster has him & I am powerless to save him.

So I need to post this today:


So be it for me & you.

garden variety
Posts: 750
Joined: Fri Aug 04, 2006 7:39 pm

Postby garden variety » Mon Nov 03, 2008 10:26 pm

I'm humbled that you feel that way, and thank you for the prayer.

You know something, Sunlight?

There's one thing that kid never fails to mention to me whenever I see him or we talk on the phone...

"I love you, dad."

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Joined: Thu Sep 18, 2008 8:50 am

Postby Jools » Tue Nov 04, 2008 4:02 pm

Some heartfelt sharing for sure. Thanx for sharing with us, it really helps me to know I'm human too.

Ah, Sunlight, my heart goes out to you girl. As soon as I read your post I prayed. I prayed that God would comfort you and that your son will "come to" soon. It hurts to the very core and you only did what our hearts shout out for us to do, make it better for him. They're our sons and there is no love like a mother has for her son.

Trey is out of the house again because he received two tickets for possession, one for pot and the other for paraphernalia. *sighs* I just want to shake some sense into him, but I can't. He has to "come to" also. It's a major milestone for me to just say no when he calls for a pack of cigs or money.

So, as I do with my alcoholism, I try to take his addiction and my re"actions" to it one day at a time. He may or may not be back in the house he's not and that's all I have to work with.

Paul, I didn't know you were talking about your son until I read the last one from you . I had tears in my eyes when I read all of your posts. I am praying for you and yours too, my friend.

Deb, your post really hit home for me, especially the part about the tense energy. Between that, the lies, the sneaking, and me checking up on him, and the list goes on add infinitum. It really was hard to keep my energies focused on the program and what needs to be done to keep Julie sober today.

I know this is going to sound horrible but I'm relieved that he's not living there today.

Take care y'all,

garden variety
Posts: 750
Joined: Fri Aug 04, 2006 7:39 pm

Postby garden variety » Thu Nov 06, 2008 3:55 pm

I was looking here and there - in a bunch of our topics and posts.

Let's just take a "typical" rough week which is turning into a rough month.

Let me show you a couple "points of interest" on our little site-seeing tour.

-At least 3-4 of us, maybe more, have paid a visit to a hospital.
-At least 3-4 of us have been in contact with our young "man-child" sons who ALL have abused drugs.
-At least 4 of us have some kind of significant other that is also somehow addicted to something or in some kind of recovery.
-We've experienced episodes of attempted suicide and domestic violence.
-It seems like we've all shed probably a gallon or two of tears between us.

There's probably more. The kinds of things we've been experiencing and sharing are not what "social drinkers" run into every day - I tell you what!

Ladies and gentlemen - we're "out there" on the edge. We're in the middle of places where people die, get arrested, or get insitutionalized. We get calls from loved ones in the middle of the night. We have people living in our homes that aren't our companions or family, and they have substance abuse problems. We get knocks on the door and we worry about when we'll hear some kind of tragic news from a state trooper. We have significant others who have left, got kicked out, or are planning or deciding on when to leave us.

I sure don't know where this train is going, but it seems like we're all riding it together. The good news is that we're sober. The bad news is probably none of us have figured out how to avoid these "personal adventures" and "high drama". Hell I got almost 10 years sober and I'm riding the same train and going through the same experiences that a lady with 10 days sober is going through.

So this is "normal", huh?

What a bunch of lunatics... Look out that one's got a hammer! Heads up INCOMING!!! No wait! You can't go back out there - you'll get killed! Honey, who's at the door at THIS HOUR! Mom-I'm sick. DUCK!

I almost feel like saying sometimes "Stand back fool! Or else you'll get what we have!" instead of "Do you want what we have, and are you willing...?" Anybody with an ounce of sanity seems like they'd run and hide if they saw any one of us walking down the street with a smile on our face and our eyes focused on them - then having our hands stretched out ready to shake. God God!

The book says it a little bit more kindly:

"There you will find release from care, boredom, and worry."


"You will be bound to them with new and wonderful ties, for you will escape disaster together..."

(Boy was that an understatement!)

"It may seem incredible that these men [and women] are to become happy, respected, and useful once more."

(The operative there being "incredible"!)

"Your imagination will be fired."

(Now there's a REAL DUESY - who came up with that idea? Some of our imaginations NEED to be fired!)

Now I found it ladies! Here's the memo we must have missed:

"It may mean the loss of many night's sleep, great interference with your pleasures, interuptions to your business. It may mean sharing your money and your home, counselling frantic wives and relatives, innumerable trips to police courts, sanitariums [a.ka. "treatment centers"], hospitals, jails, and assylums. (what the hell does he mean "innumerable"???) Your telephone may jangle at any time of the day or night. Your wife [husband] may sometimes say she is neglected. A drunk may smash the furniture in your home, or burn a matress (or smash a windshield!!! :D :twisted: ). You may have to fight with him if he is violent..."

(Hey! Wait a minute! I thought they told me "it gets better", WTF!!!???)

Good God! What on earth did we sign up for?

Whatever it was, this "tough week" thread confirms that it is exactly what the book talks about.

I guess it's to be expected "occasionally".

OK so this is just a little funning around folks - Rule 62 here for a minute.

God bless you all and ... well I love you all too. :oops: Thanks for helping me today!

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Postby DME39 » Thu Nov 06, 2008 6:03 pm

All I can say Paul, is that you just jump started my fourth step inventory of fears that I planned on starting this evening with this posting :)
The BB says We are in the world to play the role He assigns. Just to the extent that we do as we think He would have us, and humbly rely on him, does He enable us to match calamity wth serenity.
So i guess this is just what we are supposed to expect? That there will always be calamity? I have always known that i have been one who suffers more than most...I look around me sometimes and i wonder "why has ALLl this happened to ME ?" Will there possibly be even MORE to go through?????Will I have an addicted son one day too?? Will I marry yet another alcoholic????I have 6 weeks sobriety, but will i be posting the SAME THINGS in ten years??? WTF is right!!!!! I'm scared to death....excuse me while go outside and scream!!!
But i guess it's just the part in the Broadway show that I was given...that God has a plan for me and that that plan will be realized every 24, if i let his will be done. I do have a beautiful life, despite all of my dark memories and skeletons in my closet....but today is today and that's all i need to focus on right now, right??
Thanks for sharing!!!!

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