Tag Archives: alumni

Bloom where you are planted

Welcome Spring!

Today is a new day and a great day to be sober! Every day that we get through without picking up a drink or drug it is a BIG DEAL. Each day we learn how this is an amazing accomplishment when considering where we came from. Can you remember the first day trying to stay sober? Did you constantly looking at the clock thinking a minute that passed by felt like an hour? Time went by so slow in the beginning. However, as we stuck around and continued to do the work as we went to meetings, got a home group, worked with our sponsor and gave back to others in service work, time did not go by so sluggish. There was a point I felt I didn’t have enough time to do everything I wanted to get done!
 
At times in our active addiction we became so isolated we could not even go to the supermarket without being under the influence and now there is hope for us! We used to not be able to do anything such as go to a family function or a social gathering without being drunk or high and now we are able to actually enjoy them without the crutches of a substance. We start to love our new life and embrace the style of living in a positive way.
 
Recovery becomes enjoyable, we gain deep and meaningful relationships, and start to gain our families trust back. Suddenly the NA/AA dances we found “stupid” -we are now in attendance at with our fellowship friends. We learn to live life again and on life’s terms at that! Embracing the journey feels wonderful and I am grateful! 
 
-S.N.

Faith in Action!

Once we are clean and sober, we must face these awful things called feelings! They are new and we have no idea how to deal with them. This is why it is important to get a sponsor and work the steps together.

We must learn about the spiritual principle of having faith in a power greater than ourselves. We used because of our feelings and continued to use just to avoid dealing with them. The emptiness we felt would not go away, no matter how much we used. We put the substances down and now the feelings are here- staring us right in the face! Now what?! We have to learn to have faith, BUT also how to apply it to our lives. For me, I find situations on a DAILY basis where I need to apply faith. Some days I do well- other days- not so well. There are times we are faced with days of heavy feelings that are so strong that faith is the last thing we think about. So, on those days we just do not pick up no matter what. We are not perfect; but over time, we will learn and get better at applying it.

What is faith? By definition it is complete trust or confidence in someone or something. For us users, Faith is the principle we learn to help replace our feelings of FEAR! We learn a new feeling that “it will all work out” and your higher power has got this. We begin to see the evidence of faith in our life and also the lack of it.

Faith is invisible, it is something inside of us but the power of our faith is very visible to others! Faith helps us deal with situations and can be very appealing to others when they see us getting through situations.

Therapist Rob Hooper once told me he heard in the rooms, “you are holding on to a thread, when you could have a comforter.” Control gave me a false feeling of faith, but I was being controlled by the situation- what kind of faith is that? The hardest part was letting go of the idea I could control everything and believe something else could. My struggle with accepting faith and giving up my control was a long battle (I eventually lost that battle). I did not gain or develop faith overnight, but it came when I was ready to accept it.

Today, I choose to call my higher power God. I learned in this process that faith without work cannot be called faith, it needs to be the way we live.

“Dear friends, do you think you’ll get anywhere in this journey if you learn all the right words but never do anything about the issue at hand? Does merely talking about faith indicate that a person really has it?” (James 2:14-17). This means we cannot just say we have faith, it is more than verbalizing it. We must affirm our faith in our life; faith is shown in our “works” and behavior – in our daily life. The surrender is not easy to get to, but worth the journey to embrace freedom.

-SN

 

“You can’t think your way into right action, 

but you can act your way into right thinking.” 
-Bill Wilson

Christmas Break from Recovery?

For many people in recovery, this can be a particularly challenging time of year. Also, a time where it could be easy for one to relapse by putting their recovery on “Christmas Break.” But, did our using and drinking ever take a break? Awareness and preventative planning can always help if relapse is close by.

During the holidays we are around certain family members we only see this time of year that may drink or drug too much or they flat out drive us crazy! Maybe in previous years we were able to deal with this better since we were drunk or high ourselves. Certain people and behaviors could be a lot less tolerable now that we are in recovery. But this is nothing to get worked up about, and nothing we cannot get through clean especially with our recovery friends and plenty of clean holiday events. So, plan your holiday the same way you previously planned to get high or drunk for the holiday.

We should know it is okay to not go to certain family events where we will feel unsafe and if we need to, LEAVE EARLY! If it is possible, bringing a recovery friend may also help. Create an escape plan of why you may need to leave early, that way you would not feel that you have to explain yourself in depth or that you are offending anyone. Keep your sponsor and networks phone numbers close and do not be afraid to USE them! Find out where there are Holiday Marathon meetings, speaker jams, dances or a holiday alcathon -where meetings run round the clock and there are plenty of support of others in recovery.

And lastly, it is important to remember that we should all have an attitude of gratitude during the holiday. Let’s not forget why we got clean to begin with, and keep that gratitude. We are clean today with the ability to be at a holiday event we will actually remember!

In the first few holiday’s we may need to avoid or get away from certain aspects of family members or events. However, after step work and because of the experience we gain on this journey, we may develop a large amount of tolerance and empathy for those that once drove us bonkers! That is where we can see the growth in ourselves and benefits of working a recovery program. We are not responsible for how others act, we are responsible for our recovery and how WE react in these situations.

Happy Holidays!