The Alcoholic Addict and Material Items

As our sobriety continues and we begin to feel better, we may see our lives rebuild in a material fashion.  They may even be re-upped or improved upon with the things we lost while we were getting loaded; be it car, house, job, partner, etc.  There is also the distinct possibility these things may not come our way.  We are guaranteed nothing in the material.

We may hear stories from people who have received everything they lost and then some.  There are times when, while listening to someone sharing and/or a speaker in a meeting, we may hear that person say they live a life beyond their wildest imagination, all the while delivering a message that is only connected to the physical items they now have.  Perhaps after the statement regarding “A life beyond… imagination.” they relay their tales of material acquisition without covering what brought them there.  They may have left out the important details of how they got to that place in their life and focus solely on all of the seemingly fine and fabulous things they now own.

It can be frustrating and maybe even feel near-deceiving when we don’t have those same results.  Perhaps we’re thinking we are supposed to have those very same things, on a similar timeline, to whomever we’re listening.  Maybe then we begin to think the program isn’t working.  We cannot understand why we feel like whatever program to which we are affiliated isn’t doing what we think it should.

The fact of the matter is participating in a program is not an insurance policy regarding acquiring “things” we may want to have.   If worked as instructed by the suggestions in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, we are given the ability to connect with our Higher Power, who subsequently allows us to match calamity with serenity.  That ability is a gift that far outweighs any material item.

Discarding Old Ideas for New

“Is not our age characterized by the ease with which we discard old ideas for new, by the complete readiness with which we throw away the theory or gadget which does not work for something new which does?”  – The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, pg. 52

How many times have we changed our minds about a situation, a person, an idea?  Our beliefs may have fluctuated throughout our lives depending on what we’ve learned, seen, heard and/or come to understand regarding a situation where initially we may have thought differently.  So, in this, we can look back and realize that perhaps our initial ideas weren’t always correct or as informed as we may have thought.

As we approach sobriety, we may need to reevaluate our belief systems, recognizing that the ones we have relied upon have not always led us to make the best choices and/or place ourselves in the optimum situations.  Perhaps it is time to rely on a different source for direction.  In this, we begin to realize our own concepts haven’t been as reliable.  Maybe, in our initial belief systems we were sure there was nothing greater than ourselves, that there wasn’t a greater Intelligent Power to guide us.

If we are as inclined to discard old ideas for new based on what we’ve learned through our lives, doesn’t it stand to reason that, perhaps, we may want to reevaluate our idea of relying on a Power greater than ourselves?  Even if we are still unable to fully grasp that idea, an idea which is constructed as we move forward by our own respective understanding, it could be conceivable that we function under the premise that there is a Power greater than us, whether we are ready to accept that in full or not.  When we live through the idea of something bigger than merely ourselves, we begin to live in a way that allows us to extend past our own designs and schemes and we bring the better part of ourselves into the world.

H.A.L.T.: Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired

haltH.A.L.T (Hungry-Angry-Lonely-Tired)

When getting sober, you may hear the staff at this California alcohol and drug rehabilitation center talk about recognizing what it means to H.A.L.T.  This concept is best served by putting this acronym into action.

What happens when we are hungry?  Perhaps we become easy to irritate, edgy, unable to concentrate, and with our single-purpose focus on that gnawing feeling in our stomach, we may yet be somewhat befogged by the lack of fuel for our bodies.  With all of that, the propensities toward additional misunderstandings leave others, and we may include ourselves in this, prone to unnecessary tension.

How many of us lash out when we are angry?  The bile of fury rises in our throats and we spit fire, with the potential to incite riotous feelings within whomever we come in contact.  Perhaps it inflates our sense of entitlement, fanning the flames of our arrogance which in turn causes us to treat others as less than.  Maybe we become short, curt, and terse coupled with a sharp tone when communicating; we burn people with whom we’ve come in contact with the hot iron of our ire.

Lonely; the word itself may immediately create an idea of a cry for attention.  When we are lonely we may be inclined to seek company that is less than beneficial to our well being.  We may indulge in self-pity, believing we are worthless, never to feel connected in the world.  This encompassing feeling of aloneness shadows our relationships.  Perhaps we fail to be even willing to connect, leaving us reveling in our own pit of despair blindfolded to the truth while thinking only of ourselves.

Tired can cause an inability to think clearly and while markedly impairing our immediate judgment; it may also sharpen our tongue propelling us to quickly lash out at others.  We could, potentially, be unable to focus, our concentration eclipsed leaving us inclined to be unable to complete a task that is required by work or needed by family or an ear for friends.  Maybe we decide we’ll get behind the wheel and in doing that we put others and ourselves at great risk, similar to driving while under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol.  Falling asleep at the wheel can kill.

We are guided by the alcohol and drug rehab staff to check in with ourselves, noting where we are at, being mindful of our responses to others, and, when we find we are feeling one or more of these, we immediately stop and address the issue(s) at hand.  The resolution of any one of them can open us back up to being available to others.  Our self-care directly contributes to our ability to be present and, when we are present, without the anvil of H.A.L.T. weighing us down, we are serving our most important purpose; being of service to others.

The Alcoholic and a Greater Power

“The fact is that most alcoholics, for reasons yet obscure, have lost the power of choice in drink.  Our so-called will power becomes practically nonexistent.  We are unable, at certain times, to bring into our consciousness with sufficient force the memory of the suffering and humiliation of even a week or a month ago.  We are without defense against the first drink.” – The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, pg. 24

This is a near-terrifying thought.  We are being told that there is no way to safeguard ourselves against the substance(s) that call to us.  The drink and/or drugs which whispers in our respective ears, beckoning us to repeat the insanity that initially brought us to this Los Angeles alcohol rehab.

What can we do to keep ourselves safe and sound?  We may read that it is beyond our power to control ourselves and that no other human power can keep us sober.  We may hope and pray that we’ll be brought to a place of sanity though we know not how.

Here is where the staff at this California alcohol rehabilitation center can direct us toward a way to tap into a Power greater than ourselves.  In using their suggestions, we may move toward this Power which can allow us to begin the building of a sturdy foundation on which our shaky legs start to learn to stand.

Connecting with this Power seems to be one of the only ways to stave off the drink and/or drug.  At any time we may suffer from a strange mental blank spot regarding the damage we’ve done while drinking and/or using.  That momentary lack of memory coupled with relying only on ourselves may immediately precede our imbibing.  In tapping into this Power greater than only ourselves, we may be given a reprieve from destruction.  It is during this reprieve where we may be able to help others and stop crushing our lives, the lives of all the people we touch, and, many times, the people with whom our people are in contact.  It is the tapping into this Power, whatever Power that is to which one connects, that may very well keep us from reaching out for that first drink.

The Alcoholic Addict and Acceptance

“And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today.  When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing, or situation – some fact of my life – unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing, or situation as being exactly the way it supposed to be at this moment.” – The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, pg. 417

How many times have we been disturbed by everything and/or everyone around us?  What has run through our minds as we’ve been bothered by situations that are not to our liking?  Have we spent an inordinate amount of being unsettled by that which we didn’t find favorable?

Acceptance; it is the key to living a life of serenity.  The situations we find ourselves in, even long after we are sober, can be less-than-favorable.  We may object to the actions and/or ideas of those around us.  The more we struggle against our self-imposed chains keeping us locked and bound to the discomfort of that which we are not in favor, the harder it is to have peace within our hearts, our homes, and in our interactions with others.

We must learn to find a way to accept that which happens around us, when those are situations over which we have no control.  However, we need to find a way not to use the idea and action of acceptance to be our excuse in avoiding the taking of action.  We can accept a situation and work, within a productive way, to facilitate healthy change.  Whether the change happens or not, we are indebted to the idea of letting the results go.  Letting the results be what they are, as long as we do the necessary work, is a very large part of what acceptance is all about.  It’s not about shirking duties and shuffling feet through wet sand; it’s about putting effort into the next right action and being able to stay emotionally separate from the what-happens-next.

Learning to be Present

As we find ourselves without our crutch of drugs and/or alcohol, we may have a tough time staying in our respective seats.  We hear the platitude, “One day at a time.” and suddenly even the mere idea of twenty-four hours seems interminable. Sitting still can be almost painfully agonizing as we begin our journey toward living in the world sober.

How do we stay in our literal and figurative seats?  When trying to exercise sitting still, there are times when no matter how much clock-watching we do, each minute feels like an eternity.  An option to being overwhelmed by the idea of an entire day, we can shorten that idea of “one day at a time” to “five minutes at a time.”

It is an undeniably challenging task.  The longer we can stay planted in the chair, in which we are sitting, the more likely we are to hear a message of depth and weight.  If one’s willing to consider it parallel to another situation, the analogy could be a small, thin branch waving wildly in the breeze versus a sturdy Redwood with roots for days.

This Los Angeles drug rehabilitation center can provide one with the exercise of learning how to stay put.  The counselors understand how difficult it can be and do their best to be compassionate about this difficult lesson.  This could be, at least initially, one of our biggest hurdles to cross.  If we continue to pursue this life of service and contribution, we may very well find ourselves being less antsy and then by default, perhaps without even realizing it, we find ourselves able to stay still.  It will take work, without question, and know that it’s possible.

Sobriety and Living in the Present

As we begin and proceed down the path of sobriety, there are times when we may be swayed by remorseful thoughts of what-could-have-been or if-only-I-hadn’t-done-that or why-didn’t-I-do-this or I-should-have-done-that.  We can get caught up in the idea of missed opportunities as we’re being separated from the item(s) that kept us from being present in the world while we awaken to our lives as they actually are.

This line of thinking keeps us far from being aware and in the moment.  We realize that if we immerse ourselves in reveling in our respective remorse, we are living in a past that never actually existed while, simultaneously, we project and fantasize about what would have happened in our future.  As we are so often reminded, neither the past nor the present is the now.

It can be difficult to remain present, especially in early sobriety.  There are so many distractions, be it the person next to us talking or the radio on or the tv or even the blowing breeze.  The staff at this California rehab is well aware of what it looks like when we start to ride our horse of remorse into the wilderness of our fantasies.  They have the ability to not only recognize the moment when that starts to occur, they have the skills to refocus our wandering minds and reorient us to the present.

The present is a new and unfamiliar place in which we begin to reside.  It can be uncomfortable and it can be scary.  Conversely, it is a rich world we inhabit and until we can learn how to live within it and amongst others, aware and mindful of all that is around us, we may continue to hide.  Haven’t we, while using and drinking, hidden enough?

Feelings: Reacting vs. Responding

Feelings, we all have them.  Many times we react to them and base our responses, actions, behaviors, thoughts, our demeanor and treatment of others, and ourselves, on how we feel at that moment.  As we know, feelings can change at the drop of a hat; merely a breeze blowing from a different direction can alter our emotions.

As we move forward we begin to learn that feelings are not facts.  This doesn’t mean that while feeling them those sentiments are not our truth in that moment.  It doesn’t mean that we are wrong or bad for feeling how we feel.  We are welcome to feel anyway we’d like.  It is how we interpret them and realize that what we may feel and perceive isn’t always what the truth is around us.  As we continue, we subsequently begin to learn that it’s how we react that makes all the difference in the world to the person or people to whom we are responding.

The key difference here is reacting versus responding.  We learn how to respond.  We are taught that in our response to others, be it people or situations, our path through life can ease significantly when we grasp and enact this idea.

The staff at this rehab in Los Angeles can guide you to the stepping stones on which to travel in order to reach this goal.  We all understand that after years of reacting, immediately adopting a new system of communicating isn’t going to happen overnight.  The task-at-hand isn’t a simple one, it is, however, crucial to our survival.

The Alcoholic and Willingness

“… “Do I now believe, or am I even willing to believe, that there is a Power greater than myself?”  As soon as a man can say that he does believe, or is willing to believe, we emphatically assure him that he is on his way.” – The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, pg. 47

Within the scope of addiction and alcoholism, it is understood that we, as a power unto ourselves, are incapable of managing and controlling our using and drinking.  This has been shown to us time and time again.  We must be willing to allow another Guiding Force the chance to direct us, to help us move past this damaging way of living.  We must tap into a Power greater than ourselves if we are to be restored to sanity.

That is an essential component of getting and maintaining sobriety; the willingness to be willing.  Willing doesn’t mean fully embracing a concept which may be beyond our grasp at the moment.  Willing, by definition, means inclined toward.  It doesn’t affirm anything other than being ready to consider another path, which is the natural step after truly understanding we cannot do this solely by and on our own power.

Can this willingness to put our faith in something other than ourselves give us half a chance in the battle against substances?  According to many who have come before us, this is another key in the unlocking of the door to Recovery.  This “willingness” opens us up to the progression of moving toward living a life of worth.  It gives us an opportunity to become of maximum service in the world, to whomever we encounter, which is the ultimate goal.