Tag Archives: addction

Sharing the Light

10 Jan

“And when you want to live, how do you start, where do you go, who do you need to know?” – The Smiths, The Boy with the Thorn in His Side.

As you may have noticed by now, I’m very fond of quotes. I usually include at least one with every blog piece. My philosophy is: why not share the brilliant words of others instead of struggling to find a way to say it (less eloquently) myself? I also like to call it “sharing the light”. Some of the best quotes and pearls of wisdom I hear are in meetings. And many of them are said by people who are quoting someone else, or sharing the light. Sometimes I hear the same platitude or trite saying again and again, but for some reason, one particular time, it finally gets through my thick skull. For alcoholics, there are many. But as you can see, they can apply to a myriad of situations, self-helpers and, especially, serenity seekers:

-one day at a time
-let go and let God
-change I must or die I will
-do the next right thing
-but for the grace of God
-the best is yet to come
-turn it over
-keep an attitude of gratitude
-get rid of the stinkin’ thinkin’

But the best by far is the Serenity Prayer. If we can just remember that, things would be much easier. For everyone. Not just alcoholics or addicts. Everyone. When times are tough and things aren’t going your way, simply remember this:

God, grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can
And the wisdom to know the difference.

Really think about that. If we learn to accept the things we cannot change, we would take away a huge chunk of unnecessary worry and stress. Courage is something we could all use, especially courage to take control of situations where we have the ability to make things better. And wisdom, well that goes without saying. But wisdom to know the difference isn’t always easy to come by.

Working toward sobriety and a better life, and changing old destructive ways, IS something I have the ability to control. The disease of alcoholism I cannot change. It’s there. I didn’t ask for it but it’s there. And it’s there for good. I accept that. The courage to change how I deal with it and fight it is something I continue to pray for. The wisdom to know the difference comes from those who share the light with me, and of course, from my Higher Power (HP).

As for my Smiths quote above, “when you want to live, how do you start, where do you go, who do you need to know?”—-I loved the Smiths in high school and college. I still do. Many of Morrissey’s morbid and depressing lyrics (like “sweetness I was only joking when I said I’d like to smash every tooth in your head” and “if a ten-ton truck, killed the both of us, to die by your side, well the pleasure, the privilege is mine”) used to blast from my car radio. They fit in perfectly with my teenage angst and misery of the time. But the quote above always gave me hope. I think it is honestly something that I asked myself deep down many times when I was struggling to crawl out of the terrible dark hole I was in. Now that I have the clarity of my sobriety, I can answer those questions. When you want to live, you start by simply making that choice. That you want to LIVE. In a twelve-step program, that’s always the first step. Where do you go and who do you need to know? Also simple. You need to know where to find those who share the light with you and those who care. You need to know and establish a strong connection to your HP. You need to remember the serenity prayer.

And, that some girls are bigger than others…… (Smiths).

The Ghost of Christmas Past

29 Dec

While writing this blog is immensely cathartic for me, my goal is to help other people struggling to overcome alcoholism. Not just alcoholism or addiction, but any demon that they face. As I work to stay one step ahead of mine and follow the path to a much happier, healthier life, I hope that sharing my stories will help others see that it’s never too late to turn things around. Whatever adversity they face.

The holidays are a rough time for many people, including alcoholics. The parties, the expectations, the stress, the associations and memories. Year after year, I remember just sitting, in the dark, looking at our Christmas tree and it’s beautiful lights and ornaments, with several glasses of wine or cocktails du jour, and crying. Quietly crying. Why did such a beautiful symbol of Christmas always bring me so down? Or was I just down and the Christmas tree smacked me in the face to remind me? Depression is its own monster (though intricately connected to alcoholism). While we usually think of it as the blues, this time of year it just comes in red and green.

Past Christmases brought some wonderful memories back to me. There were several years when my brothers and I would hike through the woods behind my grandparents’ house and pick out the perfect Christmas tree. My grandfather would chop it down with pride and carry it back down, through the snow, to our car. Often, the tree ended up looking quite like Charlie Brown’s feeble little tree, but we always loved it nevertheless.

When we were kids, our dear family friends, who were Jewish, would come decorate our tree with us. In turn, they invited us to celebrate a night of Hanukah with them and taught us about lighting the menorah and their traditions. It was a wonderful way to experience the holidays together. Not to mention the incredible potato latkes and matzah brie we got to eat! (Thank you Aunt B.!)

But this year, when the house was quiet and the kids were asleep, I was able to sit and look at our beautiful tree, and smile. It was decorated by my children. And it was a happy symbol to me. No wine. No cocktails. No tears. Believe me, there were times very recently when I thought I was losing the battle and that the Drink Devil was pouring a glass for me. Get lost. 31 months yesterday without a single drop. Take that.

I don’t do it on my own, however. I can’t. My battle gear is multi-layered. First and foremost, I send my HP (Higher Power) in first. Going to meetings stores up the ammo I need to fight. And my family and friends back me up and provide me with additional armor. Thank you doesn’t really cut it, but until I find better words, that’s all I can say. Thank you, each and every one of you, for your support and encouragement. All while you have your own battles to fight. I don’t think that you have any idea how much just a small gesture means—-a hug, a kind word, a pat on the back, a “like” or a “share” of my work, or even taking the time to explain to me what I could do better. Short emails that say “you rock” make my day. You are the one who rocks for taking the time to send that.

As I have said before, I realize that everyone has their own crosses to bear. Most people fight their battles quietly and bravely in their own way. I have chosen to share mine openly and publicly, which I understand not everyone will agree with. I get my share of criticism with my writing as well. I have to learn to take the good with the bad. But, the number of people who have written to me or told me how much a piece I wrote helped them makes it all worth it. Kneeling on the floor, throwing up in the toilet, head pounding, hungover, humiliated and ashamed, is a scenario I don’t wish to repeat and I don’t wish upon anyone else. I’d be right back there if the Drink Devil wins. My writing helps get those bad thoughts out of my head and takes away most of their power. I hope somehow it helps you too.

So Christmas is over…now on to New Year’s. Ugh.

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