Category Archives: meetings

This Should Stir Up A Fuss!

Note: “What, Me Sober?” has many opinions on outside issues and believes that controversy is exactly what the treatment field and the various support groups need. 

Thinking in recovery circles has been too stagnated for too long. Our knowledge has come a long way from the early 20th Century, and it’s time to start thinking outside the “traditional” boxes when it comes to treatment. That said, we are not encouraging anyone to stop going to meetings. One thing that is necessary in recovery is support from folks who understand. People who lack it rarely get sober, whatever their particular addiction(s) may be, and the various support groups are the best place to find like-minded folks. Just don’t let the “Bleeding Deacons”  panic you. After all, isn’t a closed mind one of the worst curses of alcoholism and other addictions? If WE, the people who’ve been there and done that, don’t keep open minds, how can we expect the folks who make decisions regarding legislation, insurance and so forth to do so? Hell, a lot of them are probably in denial about their own issues!

Read the article. If nothing else, it’ll be good for your circulation.

The United States already spends about $35 billion a year on alcohol- and substance-abuse treatment, yet heavy drinking causes 88,000 deaths a year—including deaths from car accidents and diseases linked to alcohol. It also costs the country hundreds of billions of dollars in expenses related to health care, criminal justice, motor-vehicle crashes, and lost workplace productivity, according to the CDC. With the Affordable Care Act’s expansion of coverage, it’s time to ask some important questions: Which treatments should we be willing to pay for? Have they been proved effective? And for whom—only those at the extreme end of the spectrum, or also those in the vast, long-overlooked middle?  Lots more…

Slinging It Around

I went to an anniversary meeting last week. Generally speaking I love anniversaries, especially the one and two-year recipients who are still more or less in awe of their sobriety and their fellowships. This one was pretty great too, except in one respect.

The first recipient was a one-year guy who’d had multiple relapses, both prolonged and short. Apparently – not by his account – he’d known the man who presented his medallion some years ago in another state, and then re-connected with him locally the previously year. Those sorts of coincidences occur pretty often down here in Florida, where it seems that old alcoholics and other addicts come to die the same as other folks. We’re also loaded with newcomers from the dozens of treatment facilities in our area. Generally speaking, our fellowships are the richer for it. Anyway, the celebrant seemed to think it was working for him. Continue reading

Flashback — Concerning A Higher Power

This was originally posted on 22 May 2014. It’s been edited slightly because I can’t ever read my own stuff without messing  around with it.


I heard another newcomer at a meeting complaining about how she’d had God shoved down her throat by her parents, and she wasn’t having any part of this Higher Power stuff, blah, blah, blah. I find this sort of thing tedious, to put it mildly, having listened to and read about it frequently over the years. Even when I was claiming to be an atheist I thought it was shallow and ill-considered. So I thought I’d write about my take on the matter. Continue reading

Recovery Basics

Don’t use; go to meetings; get a sponsor; work the steps, carry the message. These are the basics of recovery in the 12-step programs. If we say “don’t act out,” we can include all variations of addictive behaviors, and if we broaden our definitions to include other successful recovery programs, these are the basics of recovery, period. Continue reading

Going It Alone (edited reprint)

Lonesome Road©DigitalZen 2008

Lonesome Road
© DigitalZen 2008

My wife and I picked up medallions at a meeting last week. It’s been 29 years since we got out of treatment. My anniversary was the 14th, and hers was the 29th.

I couldn’t help thinking about the incredible importance of the support we got from other people in the program over the years. There is no question in my mind but that I would have relapsed without it, because my arrogance had me convinced that I could handle recovery on my own.

My addictions taught me to go it alone. Although family, friends and others who care about us sometimes do try to support us when we are active in our addictions, that is not the only kind of support we need. Furthermore, we often draw away from them in various ways that eventually cause them to do the same. Since non-addicts rarely have any conception of where we’re coming from, many of them accept our self-imposed isolation even though they may find the rejection extremely painful.

Thus we become islands surrounded by our addictions, and because our pathology prevents us from letting others into our lives enough to be supportive, we have to try — with greater or lesser success — to deal with issues then that we couldn’t even handle when we were straight. That rarely goes well. Nonetheless, even though I felt abandoned I resisted efforts at real support from any source.  If people knew what was really going on in my life, I might have had to do something about it.

The result, when I got into recovery, was a Catch 22 sort of situation: I desperately needed support and guidance but didn’t know how to accept it and act accordingly. Because I’m a bright guy and a good mimic it wasn’t long before I was talking a good game, but I wasn’t reaching out or being completely honest. That stalled the beginnings of real recovery considerably.

It’s hard for us addicts to believe that others sincerely care about us. We have already proven that we can’t be successful on our own. That’s what brought us to the rooms of recovery, yet opening up to others and admitting to ourselves that we do need help is the first big stumbling block to getting clean and sober. (There’s a step for that.) It’s hard for us to realize the power of the group, and of a program based on hope, self-knowledge and the compassion and understanding of other folks who know where we’re coming from. We expect to be judged, and instead they offer us hugs – how weird is that?

At least that’s how it was for me. I talked the talk because I wanted to fit in, but it took me a long time and a lot of slaps upside the head from life before I became willing to open my mind, open up to others, get honest with myself, and start walking the walk. When I did that, I began to be able to look at and resolve many of the issues that kept me from true sobriety.

So I’ve got a lot of good feelings about the folks with whom I’ve traveled and am still traveling this road. They helped me get just enough through my thick head to realize that recovery does work. This is where I got my first taste of unconditional love that I recognized. (I’d had a lot from friends and family, but they didn’t really know how to express it, and I sure as hell didn’t know how to accept it!)

I’m not saying that those people kept me sober, because I didn’t start getting really sober until I became willing to look at the real causes of my addiction: issues that date back to my childhood, but they did convince me through example that recovery was posslble and that someone cared. That kept me coming back.

And coming back, over and over, saved my life.