- Summertime Blues

Summertime Blues




Topics related to AA Meetings - and alcohol addiction recovery

Summertime Blues

Postby Amy S » Thu Jun 07, 2007 6:18 am

Spring and summer have always been my favorite seasons. I like to have fun especially on summer nights but up until recently that fun always included alcohol or other drugs. This year is different and I hope to keep it that way. I've only been sober for a short amount of time and I can't seem to find anything fun to do that's cheap and doesn't include bars or booze. I live in the country the I have to drive over an hour to get to a city that has things besides bars. Any ideas on what I can do to have fun that doesn't cost a lot and will help me stay sober? I've forgotten how to have fun sober, I very seldom ever did and now I just feel lost. I feel like I'll never be able to have fun again. HELP!! :?
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Postby Dallas » Thu Jun 07, 2007 11:12 am

Hey Amy!!!

I started writing on this topic... but, my list of suggestions got so huge... I decided to re-write it! It was like an ad infinitum kind of list! It got way too long -- with no end in sight! :lol:

So... rather than add my list... let me ask you a few questions:

1. Why is it -- that, spring and summer are your favorite seasons?

2. Was there ever a time in your life -- before you started drinking and using -- that you were happy?

3. And, if the answer to question #2 is a "yes" --- how old were you then, and what were you doing while you were happy?

4. When you were a little girl.... What was "your dream" in life?

5. When you were a little girl... what were some of the things that you had the most fun doing?

Sometimes --- people forget what their dream was, or... they give up on it.

Try going back in mind... as far as you can, and see if you can discover what your dream was. And, then... share it with us here. That might make for some more meaningful suggestions. :wink:

Dallas
Last edited by Dallas on Thu Jun 07, 2007 6:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Summertime Blues

Postby garden variety » Thu Jun 07, 2007 3:49 pm

Hi Amy.

Dallas gave you some good ideas. The bottom line is it helps to make lists. I'm going to try to keep this simple but I not might be able to.

Let me tell you what fun means to me. Fun means doing some kind of activity that makes me feel good about myself. And it also helps me make spiritual progress.

I'll bet you like ice cream and its probably fun to go to the ice cream parlor on a hot summer night and suck down a sundae. But it also can be fun if you learn how to bake a fresh apple pie and throw a scoop or two of vanilla ice cream on top right after you pull it out of the oven. Boy that Allah Mode Apple Pie is good stuff! Well if you learn how to bake a tasty apple pie, you feel good about yourself and grow spiritually and maybe a belt notch or two. Then on a hot Saturday night you can invite a girl with less days sober than you over to your house for some Apple Pie and ice cream and read or work the program together. You both stay sober and you have fun and you grow spiritually.

A guy told me this: "Happiness is the byproduct of a life well-lived". Boy did that ever sink in! So if I'm living my life well, like "practicing these principles in all our affairs", then the "byproduct" is going to be "happiness" or "fun". So I don't really set out to have fun - I just learn and do activities that make me feel good about myself and that help me grow spiritually.

So you said you're pretty new to being sober which means your big fat self-centered ego controls you more than the needs of other people. So you need to get over yourself. The best way for me to do that is what the book says to help another alcoholic. Or I can also help someone who's not a drunk. The main point is doing something helpful for somebody other than me where I don't get anything in return. That takes my mind off of me.

Here's something to work on:
Amy S wrote:I've only been sober for a short amount of time and I can't seem to find anything fun to do that's cheap and doesn't include bars or booze.


I'm going to "suggest" a change for you that you might have to remind yourself every day for a while. "Fun" never includes "booze" or "taking drugs" or "using" or "drinking alcohol". What you were thinking of as fun was not really fun but a big fat lie your mind told you if you are an alcoholic which you said you are.

There is never a way on this earth that killing brain cells by drinking or taking a poisonous chemical substance can be made into "having fun". We alcoholics would call this "denial". What the "effect" of getting drunk or getting high was that "intense" feeling which comes from soaking our brains with poisonous chemicals - and then those chemicals destroying brain cells - and then other brain cells trying to immediately do the things the dead ones used to do. That is not "fun" - that is insanity!

Now if you are interested, I'll share with you an exercise that was in my devotional that I did just a couple days ago. It said to do this: "Today I'll list the things I like to do for fun. I'll add three things I'd like to try over the next three months."

Now I'm going to be totally honest here and give you exactly what I wrote down. Don't laugh too hard!

Fishing
Romantic dancing
Sex
Eating out at a nice restaurant
Working on my truck
Gardening
Going to AA events
Shopping for little things (stuff I always forget to buy like a can opener)
Window shopping
Selling stuff on ebay
Cleaning house
Remodelling

the three things over the next three months:
Go to garage sales
Playing drums
Finish the woodwork

Now most of these things are for me to enjoy and probably look self-centered. But the exercise was designed to help me become aware of what fun is to me and to do things that are fun every now and then. Most of them also involve other people having fun together such as with a buddy (not the sex thing!) or a loved one. And also most of them help me to feel good about myself and to grow spiritually.

Now because I mentioned "sex" and that goes with relationships I'll say this. I was sober a long long time before that ever happened - all in all I didn't have sex or a relationship for ten years. But that's just me - but at all times SOBRIETY comes first and that can work with a relationship. It takes work and planning to go to a lot of meetings and work a program with other alcoholics while having someone special in your life. But it can be done and it is nice when it works out - really nice.
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Postby anniemac » Thu Jun 07, 2007 7:14 pm

Hi Amy ~

You've gotten some great input here so far. I remember feeling just like you do right now. I had no idea how to have fun. I also didn't want to be around alcohol. That ruled out asking my old drinking buddies to do something other than go to a bar, because whatever we ended up doing, they'd incorporate alcohol.

One solution was to reach my hand out at AA meetings, take the initiative and invite some of the other women out for a bite to eat, or ask if anyone wanted to go bowling or something. Quite frankly, back them, going out to dinner or going bowling were not exactly my idea of fun...but neither was sitting home feeling that life was passing me by. Doing something sounded better than doing nothing.

I guess I also redefined my ideas of fun. I used to think that fun always involved being rowdy. I came to learn that fun, for me, can be taking an arts and crafts course. If that's too mellow a brand of fun for you, maybe a dancing class? There's an AA group near here that holds a Square Dance every year. Let me tell you, I would have rather stayed home than been caught at a square dance; but friends dragged me along and then out on the dance floor, and hokey as it seemed to me, I had fun.

Another woman suggested that I go to the playground and swing on the swings - just to rekindle my funny bone. She also bought me a jar of bubbles to play with. I had to learn to lighten up.

Sobriety has afforded me many opportunities to explore what interests me; I will say, though, that at first it was tricky to determine what interested me. Be patient, stay close to the women in AA, and the rest will unfold.
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Postby Dallas » Thu Jun 07, 2007 7:16 pm

The only time that I'm not having fun -- is when I'm disturbed about something. The moment that the disturbance is lifted... I'm automatically having fun.

Fun... just like the disturbance... originates on the "inside" of me. It is what is "inside me" that tells me "if" I'm experiencing fun, or if I'm disturbed. Boredom -- can be a word that I use for "disturbed".

The trick -- for me -- to stay happy and having fun while sober -- has been to identify the conflicts in me and my life (inventory) and change my mind (my perception, my understanding) about the conflicts in me and my life. I can do this by using the 12 Steps.

Example: Yesterday, there was a moment that I became disturbed. Within 15 to 20 minutes of using the Steps on the disturbance -- the disturbance evaporated! It was gone. And, I automatically returned to a state of "happy, joyous and free."

For me -- anytime is a great time to learn more about the 12 Steps, and how I can use them in my life on any problem. To me -- that's fun. And, the pay off = more fun.

I also have fun reading and studying the Big Book and other A.A. books. It keeps my mind occupied, while I'm learning about something that can and does change my life. It's kind of like studying magic!

When I first read Paul's list above... I got excited, and thought "Wow! That sounds like some awesome fun!"

Then, I thought... try reading the list, again ... and imagine that your real disturbed... and you're going to do those things! OH WHAT AN ORDER! What would have been fun... seems like "work" and a "challenge"... and I would want to avoid it... "if I was distrubed."

Now... imagine the disturbance is gone... and the list becomes exciting again!

The list didn't change.

The only thing that changed... was "the image" I was holding in my mind... "imagining" being disturbed or not disturbed! My imagination. My perception.

Dallas
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Postby Amy S » Thu Jun 07, 2007 9:18 pm

Thanks for all the advice guys. Dallas you're right, I have fun things to do it's just my attitude toward them right now that makes them seem like they aren't fun. I'm going to go now it's time to try having a little fun.
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Postby garden variety » Thu Jun 07, 2007 11:04 pm

I wish you have all the fun in the world. You will as long as you put some work into this program and helping others - the benefits really do come, but they might take a little while, but you will see progress as long as you do those steps.

Let me tell you what it was like when I first started getting real serious about the program. You see all those things on my "fun list"? Well I most assuredly guarantee you they were not there. There was no girlfriend, no dancing, no sex, no eating at resteraunts, no shopping, and not even a house to clean up or remodel because I was getting evicted! I was fit to be tied I tell you what! I was ready to strangle the next smiling idiot that said "keep coming back". But it only took a couple two years of getting serious and all those things really did start coming my way and the promises coming true. It all started when I started making progress on step 9.

When I started "getting serious" this is how it was: I lost $10,000 on a land contract gone bad, I got evicted from my apartment, I got sued and had my wages garnished, I couldn't pay for insurance so I couldn't drive, I was paying child support, my electricity was shut off, and so was my gas, I owed people about $30,000 in financial amends, it was the beginning of a cold winter and everywhere I went I had to take a bus, and I was taking home less than minimum wage. I was broke, mean, very "disturbed", and was going about half-crazy like you.

Now here's the funny thing - at that time I already had 5 years sober! I just wasn't taking it serious and "half-measure" was my middle name, and it showed in everything I did. I reached a point where I knew I was going back out drinking - I could feel it coming on. So I said I better start going to meetings every night and get serious or just go back and drink. But I knew if I did I would die - I already had my last chance. I assure you this, my next drunk will be my last one.

So I took the bus in the cold (I mean below zero cold!) and snow to meetings every night until my "restless, irritation, and discontentment" started easing away. Now that happened when I went to my home group and somehow I had one of those "God" moments. He showed me there was someone there that needed my prayers and friendship and that got me out of myself. I finally again could see the needs of another human being other than me. Then my attitude changed back to what it was when I first got sober. And things got easier one day at a time. I hooked up with a sponsor and started working those steps hard this time - like the book says "with all the desperation of drowing men."

I just wanted you to know that Amy, that I'm not just suggesting things and talking about your big fat self-centered ego like I know so much more. Girl I was right where you're at, and I had 5 years without drinking. See I found out just because I'm sober doesn't mean I always make good choices - they tell me just because I'm sober doesn't mean I can't be useless. And that's what I was then - pretty useless. But when I got that "desperation" going working the steps real thorough, it was work but it wasn't hard as sitting and watching the bottom fall out like it was doing. Then things didn't change, but like Dallas and you said, I started changing. This AA program they say is an "inside job" - meaning I got to get myself clean and sober from the inside out.

Another one a buddy told me is this: "If I change the way I look at things, the things I look at change." I had to ask him every time I saw him for about 4-5 times to repeat that because I kept forgetting it - but I wanted to remember and I finally did. And it is so true.

So really, the book says this, if you put half as much energy into your recovery as you did into drinking, you will be surprised at how good life gets. And I can even tell you when you will know this is happening. The book says it this way: "You will be amazed before you're halfway through." So Amy, if your not amazed yet which it doesn't sound like you are, you got some work to keep on doing until you get amazed. But that day will come where your whole face will change the way it looks and somebody will say "Amy you look happy." You'll stop for a minute and think - then you will realize that you really are amazed at the change that's happened to you practically without you knowing it was happening.

I wish you the best - now stop watching life go by get into action!
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Postby Dallas » Thu Jun 07, 2007 11:27 pm

Great sharing of you story, Paul!!! Thank you!

Sometimes newer members (not you Amy!) see us with a few years of sobriety -- and, we're happy and joyous and free -- and they don't really realize... that we were just like they are -- and have been every square inch of where they're at! And, they begin to think (like I did) "but, I'm different! It's different for me! You just don't understand because you couldn't have felt this way!" (And, of course... they usually don't see us when we're having our difficult moments!) :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

I thought that the reason the oldtimers seemed to have any peace or serenity... was because they had a secret bottle hidden in a closet next to the speakers podium! :lol:

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My name is Anne, I'm an alcoholic

Postby musicmode » Sun Jun 24, 2007 8:07 pm

Just a suggestion...check around your area and see if there are any "sober camp-outs" or round-ups? Sometimes, members here get together and just decide to go and do something. I've found that by just asking around my home group, somebody knows of something going on. Might be "outside" of AA, but a bunch of members perhaps decide to go camping, or cruise over to another area and visit another meeting, or go for pizza or anything. And, if you're really feeling like going out on a limb, have something at your place and invite members from your group and their families or whatever--have each person bring a dish of their favorite food...have a theme night??? Start something :wink: .

Live sober,
Anne
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Postby DebbieV » Mon Jul 23, 2007 12:22 am

My brother and I are both new in the program and he was told to do 5 things for someone and not let them know, so he sat back and thought and came up with some stuff, I decided to go with him and do some things myself, we both felt like freaks at first, but by the end of the day we were laughing our ass off and having the best day. I can't remember a day where we have had fun just enjoying being together and it came about by trying to help someone else. Two seriously self-centered, me-me-me people, who would have beleived that one.

It showed me that fun is where you make it, it's not going to come up and knock on the door and say "hey I'm here lets go" I can look at what I call "action steps" as a pain or I can look at them as keeping me on the path of HJ&F. For me that is better than sitting in a bar and me looking at him saying, I wish I could help my big brother stop drinking and him sitting next to me saying, I wish I could help my little sister stop drinking. This progam never stops amazing me, It really does work if you work it.
:D :D :D :D :D
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12 Step Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery | - Summertime Blues



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