Alcoholism and Powerlessness

There has always been a lot of confusion about this matter of asserting the will. When the twelve steps say “we admitted we were powerless over alcohol” we assert what has always been a fact about that malady. Namely that a frontal attack by the will on the desire to drink almost never works. This hard fact is the premise upon which we must start. The recognition that actual lunacy cannot be subdued by straight will power. God knows drunks have tried hard enough to do just this and have generally failed. Nobody would expect much result were every kleptomaniac to take the pledge not to steal. Repeating stealing, the kleptomaniac is as compulsively nutty as he can be. Though this compulsive condition is not so generally recognized in the alcoholic, because drinking is socially acceptable, it is never the less true that he is just about as crazy. Therefore our first is realistic when it declares that we are powerless to deal with the alcohol hex on our own resources or will.-pg. 273 from The Language Of The Heart

It is clear that we cannot get sober on our own or by willpower alone. If we could the majority of alcoholics in this world would probably opt for getting sober that way resulting in a huge number of success stories regarding sobriety. However the fact is that willpower or our wills have nothing to do with it. It wasn’t because we were weak willed that we could not stop drinking or could not rise above this seemingly hopeless state of mind and body that we suffered from. In fact, our will if anything kept us drinking and using longer. Therefore no matter how strong or weak our will and mind was we surely could not recover using the same tools we used to get loaded. We could not fix the problem with the problem. Instead what we needed to do was ask for alcohol addiction help and work a program. Some of us might have even needed extra help through places such as a drug addiction detox, AA, or 30 day rehab program. Again needing these places in order to recover is not a matter of being weak willed. There are positive ways to incorporate our wills into our lives as well as negative ways. When we look at different ways to stay sober we are using our willpower to the best of our ability. We pray and meditate so that our will is aligned with our higher powers will for us. It is then and only then that we can be freed from the bondage of self.

Responsibility and AA

“I am responsible when anyone, anywhere, reaches out for help I want the hand of AA always to be there and for that: I am responsible.”

When it comes to AA it is important that once we get sober we behave responsibly and are good examples of Alcoholics Anonymous. Because the tools in sobriety were so freely given to us it is important that alcohol addiction help remain available to others through us. It is important that we give back. There are many ways we can do that such as through sponsorship, a drug addiction detox, AA, or perhaps even through volunteering at a 30 day rehab program. It’s imperative that we carry the message to others because if we didn’t and Alcoholics Anonymous wasn’t available to us then we would surely drink and to drink means to die for us. For most of us who are sober we can recall a time when we needed the help of others as well as AA and it was always there. It was there when we didn’t know how to stop drinking, when we needed a solution to this seemingly hopeless state of mind and body, and it has continued to be there for us throughout the years as we encountered rough patches in our sobriety. It is only right that we pay it forward. After all, where would we be without the people that came before us in Alcoholics Anonymous? We would probably still be lost and we definitely would have missed out on this amazing life that we come to find through sobriety; it is a life full of peace, happiness, joy, and love. It is a way of life worth passing on!

A Life of Sobriety, Acceptance, and Peace

“One way to get at the meaning of the principle of acceptance is to meditate upon it in the context of AA’s much used prayer ‘God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.’ Essentially this is to ask for the resources of grace by which we may make spiritual progress under all conditions. Greatly emphasized in this wonderful prayer is a need for the kind of wisdom that discriminates between the possible and the impossible. We shall also see that life’s formidable array of pains and problems will require many different degrees of acceptance as we try to apply this valued principle.-pg. 269 from The Language Of The Heart

Acceptance is defined as the act of taking or receiving something offered, as well as the act of believing. It sounds good in theory but it is one of those things that are easier said than done. On one hand we might feel as alcoholics that acceptance is something we aren’t very good at but if we look back at the time when we had asked for alcohol addiction help were we not somewhat living in acceptance? Did we not accept that we had a problem and that we needed help? Were we not beaten down enough to accept that we might need to go to a 30 day rehab program, AA, or a drug addiction detox? If you are sober the answer to these questions are most likely yes. On the other hand there have most likely been times when we have found some person place or thing completely unacceptable to us. In those situations we ask for our higher powers guidance on what his/her will for us is and the power to carry that out. Through this kind of prayer and meditation not only are we relying on our higher power to carry us through but we are getting closer to living a life full of acceptance and peace.

Choices and Change in Sobriety

There is no such thing as a good person or a bad person. There are choices, addictions, and actions that lead us in different directions, and it is through those choices, addictions, and actions that we create our realities. Sometimes we choose or do something that takes us in the opposite direction of the reality we want to create for ourselves. When we do this, we feel bad—uneasy, unhappy, unsure. We might go so far as to label ourselves “bad” when a situation like this arises. We might think were bad because of the things we have done before seeking alcohol addiction help or because of our failed attempts at getting sober through a drug addiction detox or 30 day rehab program. These things do not make us bad, or weak it just means we have a disease of the mind body and spirit. Instead of labeling ourselves, though, we could simply acknowledge that we made a choice that lead us down a particular path, and then let it go, forgiving ourselves and preparing for our next opportunity to choose, and act, in ways that support our best intentions and sobriety.. An important part of our spiritual unfolding requires that we grow beyond what we learned and take responsibility for our own liberation in our own terms. You are a human being with every right to be here, learning and exploring. To label you good or bad is to think too small. What you are is a decision-maker and every moment provides you the opportunity to move in the direction of your higher self as well as towards continuous sobriety or in the direction of stagnation, potential relapse or degradation. In the end, only you know the difference. If you find yourself going into self-judgment, try to stop yourself as soon as you can and come back to center. Know that you are not good or bad, you are simply you.

Getting Out Of “If Only”

Sometimes we assign different people places, or things higher value than they are worth or put the responsibility of our well being off on other people, places, or things. We might say to ourselves “If only I sought alcohol addiction help sooner…If only I got that job I wanted, went to that 30 day rehab program, got those shoes, went to a drug addiction detox sooner, had the relationship I wanted with so and so, or was acknowledged by others the way I want to be then maybe I would be ok.” Well, what if we stopped thinking in terms of “if only” and started to create the life we want with positive self-talk and by taking responsibility We might begin to realize that we are ok. Who we are is enough. We are beautiful, unique in our own way, and loveable. We are finite fallible human beings and we are grand and magnificent in our own right and we all have a right to be here and be who we are. Eleanor Roosevelt once said “no one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” Well if that is true and we go around feeling like we are not good enough at some point  then the question that deserves  the spotlight is not so much what if we got what we think we wanted but rather what are we doing to ourselves? Why do we pick apart and strip away the self-love we have even if we only do it a little? Furthermore how do we stop? We stop by living a life of love and tolerance. We stop by letting you be you and me be me and we stop by living an emotionally sober and freeing life. Get in touch with who you are, your shortcomings, and who you want to be. Love it and celebrate it!

Fatboy Slim on Recovery

Center stage, atop of gigantic glowing octopus, British DJ, Fatboy Slim reintroduced millions of worldwide viewers to “The Rockafeller Skank”. Rising to worldwide prominence in the late 90’s, Mr. Slim’s appearance at the 2012 London Olympic Games Closing Ceremonies would not appear a shock to many, had it not been on the heels of a difficult ‘bout with alcoholism.

Just prior to the performance, Fatboy Slim (real name: Norman Cook) spoke with media sources regarding his 2009 recovery and rehab experience:

“I gave up drinking three years and I’ve run Brighton Marathon… Everything you do is a lot easier to deal with when you go to bed after a show rather than party for two days.”

Fatboy Slim’s performance followed British comedian Russell Brand’s appearance on a psychedelic tour bus. Amidst a sold-out stadium, the vehicle was transformed into an illuminated octopus, as Fatboy Slim rose from the center to perform two of his better-known hits, ‘The Rockafeller Skank” and “Right Here, Right Now”.

Despite receiving 10 MTV Video Music Awards and 2 Brit Awards in previous years, the DJ is quick to say that he is uninterested in a return to the recording studio.

“I listen to current dance music and I think, do I even fit in here” I really don’t feel drawn to the studio. I much prefer to focus on DJing.”

In recent years, a great number of celebrities have shown difficulty kicking their respective habits under a watchful public eye. From movie and TV stars to musicians, one can only hope that a valuable lesson has been learned from repeat episodes of VH1’s Behind the Music and A&E’s Biography.

With the media focus affixed to ailing addicts and troubled celebs, it’s refreshing to find a story of triumph and determination among the wreckage. As younger generations often mimic the behaviors of their idols, the benefit of Norman Cook’s struggles and perseverance is not one to be taken lightly.

There will always be the potential for happy outcomes. There will always be obstacles on the way. How we choose to deal with these trials will ultimately make our goals sweeter once they are within our grasp. Regardless of where your journey currently keeps you, a commitment to perpetual betterment is one that will only serve you well. To sum up the point: You will get there… if only you want it.

If you or someone you know is evaluating recovery options, our Above It All addiction specialists are available to address your questions and concerns. Give us a call today, and find out how you can get on track towards the happy, fulfilling, and productive life you and your loved ones deserve. Your potential will thank you.

Having Fun in Sobriety

When we first receive alcohol addiction help and get sober we can become very serious. While this is important since we are dealing with such a cunning, baffling, and powerful disease, it is also important to remember to have fun along the way.

Often when we talk about fun, or doing things just for fun, we talk about it in a dismissive way as if fun isn’t important. We tend to value the steps, 30 day rehabs, work, drug addiction detox, and seriousness, and we forget to pay our respects to the equally important, light side of silliness and laughter. After all we didn’t get sober to be miserable and surprisingly enough there is tons of fun to be had in sobriety.  We all know the feeling of euphoria that follows a good burst of laughter, and how it leaves us less stressed, more openhearted, and more ready to reach out to people. We are far more likely to walk down the street smiling and open after we’ve had a good laugh, and this tends to catch on, inspiring smiles from the people we pass who then positively influence everyone they encounter. Witnessing this kind of chain reaction makes you think that having fun might be one of our most powerful tools for changing the world. In while it is important to recover and do the work it takes to stay sober it is also important that we enjoy ourselves. It is our duty to be examples of this program and if were walking around miserable what kind of example are we really being? There will be hard times. Times when you might want to give up, or are not able to see the light at the end of the tunnel but if you keep doing the work and keep trying there will be many moments of nothing but pure happiness.

Laughter is good medicine for us alcoholics, and we all have this medicine available to us whenever we recall a funny story or act in a silly way. We magnify the effects of this medicine when we share it with the people in our lives. If we are lucky, they will have something funny to share with us as well, and the life-loving sound of laughter will continue to spread.

Changing Your Life, Changing Your Story

Everything in our lives adds on to our story. It’s what we do with that story that matters…

One of the hardest things in life is feeling stuck in a situation that we don’t like and want to change but are powerless over. We may have exhausted ourselves trying to figure out how to make change, how to go about seeking alcohol addiction help, trying to figure out which drug addiction detox or 30 day rehab to go to, and we may even have given up. The fact is that every detail of our life has shaped and molded us, it either brings us closer to who we are and want to be or it keeps us further away from our ideal as alcoholics we often times do the same thing over and over again expecting different results when it comes to drugs and alcohol. This type of behavior can often leave us feeling helpless. However if we look at the story of our life there always seems to be some point in it when we were not dependent on alcohol…for example our childhood. For many of us there was a time in life where all was well before we got engulfed in our disease, and if we have an ounce of faith or willingness we find that that place is still accessible if we do the work. We can choose to stay sick and enslaved to this disease because of the lies we tell ourselves as a result of our story or we can draw from those times where we caught a glimpse of what life could be like if we weren’t dependent and decide to get help. The choice is yours.

Accepting Change

Sometimes we fight new things or situations. We can’t possibly imagine a new way of life. We can’t imagine our lives without a certain relationship, friendship, job, material possession, or in our case drugs and alcohol. How does one move on from something that has been such a big part of their lives? By forming new habits and asking for alcohol addiction help. It can seem painful to let go of things we think we need or have such a dependency on but if we do the work, go through a drug addiction detox, let go of the unhealthy bonds and ties we formed in our lives and turn it over to a power greater than ourselves then we will be ok, it doesn’t mean it would be difficult or that there won’t be pain along the way from the loss in our lives it just means we are giving up something that is no longer working for us for the hope of something better. When we turn our lives over and make the decision to go to a 30 day rehab or other types of sober centers eventually those feelings of fear, loss, and sadness will be replaced with healing and happiness. The same goes for everything else in our lives. If we turn our will and our life over to something greater than ourselves we may not know how and we may not know why but we can be certain that the conflict in our lives will be removed and there will be room for something much greater to come into our lives. It’s called faith and if we as alcoholics are going to survive life then we need to learn to live in faith and not in fear.

Alcoholism, Agnosticism, and the Question of Faith

“Arrived at this point, we were squarely confronted with the question of faith.  We couldn’t duck the issue; some of us had already walked far over the bridge of reason toward the desired shore of faith.  The outlines and the promise of the new land had brought luster to tired eyes and fresh courage to flagging spirits.  Friendly hands had stretched out in welcome.  We were grateful that reason had brought us so far but somehow we couldn’t quite step ashore. Perhaps we had been leaning too heavily on reason that last mile and we did not like to lose our support.  That was natural but let us thinks a little more closely.  Without knowing it, had we not been brought to where we stood by a certain kind of faith?” –pg 53 We Agnostics from the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous

There are times in sobriety that require a great deal of courage and faith.  For example when we first seek alcohol addiction help and make the decision to get sober or other life changes such as going to a drug rehab in California, getting a new job, moving or starting a family.  Whatever it is, change usually requires a great amount of courage and faith.  Faith that everything will be okay and that there is something better for us on the other side if we just walk through the fear.  Through AA and measures we take after drug addiction detox, we learn how to practice faith and courage. We learn that through the use of the steps and a higher power we can walk through almost any situation with grace and dignity if we choose.  We also learn to live life on life’s terms knowing that everything is exactly how it should be in that moment.  Once we have the experience with a situation we never have to be fearful of it or the unknown again.  For issues relating to our sobriety this is a great way to build up a defense against the first drink, kind of like insurance.  For example, we build experience with staying sober one day at a time.  We now know how to stay sober and it is no longer a scary foreign concept for us anymore but rather a part of our everyday life.