Tag Archives: aa

About Me

I was born at an early age, drank alcoholically from the first beer, used recreational drugs (and some not so recreational), eventually reaching the point where none of that stuff was fun any more. It was just work: work to stay supplied, work to juggle my reality and everyone else’s, work to keep people from finding out (I thought), work to simply live — and life sucked. Somewhere along the line I married another addict, and for several years that sucked too. There was no question in my mind that I had a problem, I just didn’t know the problem had a solution.

Finally, I was unable to keep all the balls in the air, and the world came tumbling down in the form of foreclosures, evictions, pawn shops, beat up old cars with all sorts of garbage on the dashboard, and eventually professional disgrace and the threat of losing my job.

Like many men, the job thing was the last straw for me. I knew that my wife and I would be living behind the dumpster at the Golden Arches within days, and I agreed to go into a residential treatment program. Two weeks later, my wife entered treatment at the same facility. The rest is not history, it’s more of a miracle.

Now, thirty-odd years later, I’ve had the opportunity to make most of the mistakes that folks can make in recovery, apart from actually picking up a drink or a drug.* Among other things, I’ve learned that relapse occurs before we pick up — that actually using just makes it official. I’ve worked in the recovery field. I’ve had the good sense to realize that it wasn’t for me, and got out of it. I’ve hit a lot of meetings, talked to a lot of alcoholics and addicts, and learned some of what they had to teach me.

And my wife? She got her degree in Social Work, Magna Cum Laude, at age 50, and her C.A.P. (Certified Addiction Professional — with international endorsement) a few years later. She’s also a Certified Mental Health Professional. She has worked in the field for many thousands of contact hours, and specializes in addiction (of course) and grief therapy.

We should both be dead, but we made it out the other side.

Please hang around. If you feel like reading my stuff, fine, but whatever you do, keep coming back. Don’t die. Please!

Yours in recovery,
Bill

*I use alcoholism, addiction, alcoholic and addict interchangeably. They’re the same disease, and we’re all just bozos on the same bus. That’s the first thing you need to learn.

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…

Probably the last book review you’ll ever read here

First of all, I need to assure my readers that I have absolutely no connection with the author of this book or his publisher.  I received no incentives to write this.  I purchased the book myself, and have been using it daily for several months.  This review is based solely on my admiration for an exceptional recovery resource that doesn’t get enough air time around the rooms.

I begin this review with trepidation because it is normally my policy not to do book reviews or promotional posts.  I had to adopt that position after years of requests to read books, bb-image22infographics and do reviews of websites, some of which were great, some of no interest and some of which were even toxic.  Nonetheless, I’m writing this one — with full knowledge that it will probably engender another s—storm of requests (which will, let me say in advance, be refused).

A year or so ago, I started looking for recovery resources that would be suitable for people who have a problem with the “God Thing” in AA, NA and most of the other 12-step fellowships.  As we all know, this is an issue for some, newcomers in particular.  While searching, I stumbled across “Joe C” and Beyond Belief — agnostic musings for 12-step life, his book of daily readings for folks in recovery.  After using it for the past eight months, I have come to the conclusion that it is the most valuable recovery resource I’ve used in more than a quarter of a century in 12-step recovery, excluding the basic texts of the individual fellowships, of course.  I learn something from it every morning, and I would be proud to have written it myself.  Unfortunately, I’m just not. . .that. . .good.

Don’t let the title fool you.  This isn’t a trash-the-believers book.  It’s respectful and inclusive: more a secular examination of the various addictions and programs than agnostic in the sense most people think of it.  No believer of any kind need be put off, and it would be a crying shame if any were because this book is a treasure chest of down-to-earth, triple-distilled recovery of the best kind.

I opened the book at random to the July 7th reading.  Consider the following:

First time Fourth Steppers are cautioned that this list is no magic pill; it is a step in the right direction to honest self-appraisal.  Many of us do Step Four more than once just as some businesses do a complete inventory every year or two.  Each new inventory isn’t an admission of failure of the previous stocktaking.  Rather, it is a new balance sheet on a new day to quantify progress and circumstances.

Some inventories look at the good and the bad: shameful acts vs. great accomplishments, healthy expressions of fear and anger vs. unhealthy expressions of fear and anger and our histories of deception and avoidance vs. examples of bravery and honesty.  Mismanaged feelings are addiction triggers.  Step Four uncovers the emotional triggers that set off the freeze, fight and flight reflexes. [Emphasis mine]  Like a blueprint, Step Four shows us how we’re wired, opening the door to change.

Like I said, I sure wish I’d written that!

Please, suspend your prejudices about the word “agnostic” (which, after all, only means “one who doesn’t know”), and get a copy of Beyond Belief.  I promise you that it will be one of the best recovery purchases you’ve ever made.  It will be part of my daily practice from now until I move on to find the definitive answers, and I’ll bet it will be for you, too.

Beyond Belief: Agnostic Musings for 12 Step Life: finally, a daily reflection book for nonbelievers, freethinkers and everyone Paperback – January 21, 2013

by Joe C.  (Author)

51 customer reviews (Amazon)

People Need People

By Bill

Path-300x241One of the fellowships that I attend is focused, in the early stages, on the process of overcoming obsessions.  Obsession of one kind or another is a big component of most addictions, but some more than others.

The interesting thing about obsession is that it is a vice best practiced while alone.  Our brains go ’round and ’round, and we are unable to shake the undesirable thought pattern no matter how hard we try.  Our minds keep coming back to it, him, her, that, those, and it can seem as though ridding ourselves of the thoughts is like trying to push toothpaste back into the tube.  But put us in the presence of another human being with whom we have to interact, and things are different.
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