Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Can We Talk?

Good morning all!

Donna Dierker over at Moderation Management will be interviewing me about my book tonight but it will be mostly a gab session. So, if you want to stop in and gab here's how to do it:

The "Expressions" Phone Meeting   Tuesdays at 9PM Eastern Time
Call 1-(641) 715-3580 (Teleconference Service- Long Distance call, Iowa area code)
After Connecting, enter Conference Code: 236-913 and Pound Sign (#)
Contact Donna: expressions@moderation.org

Monday, October 17, 2016

Yeah! What Jackie Said!

My fellow blogger, Jackie over at Sober Sassy Life wrote me last week to say that a comment on my last blog, "Why Is Moderation A Dirty Word?" made her think about how she responds to those who express an interest in or a desire to moderate. She decided to do a podcast on the subject and all I can say is, "Wow!"

Jackie has a way with words that I am envious of and I hope her words on the subject inspire others to revisit their own response to those who ask about moderation and to also take time to remember that not all of us are on the same "floor" of  the drinking spectrum-you'll have to listen to the Jackie's podcast, The Moderation Debate to understand what I'm talking about. Please listen to what Jackie has to say, ee owe it to ourselves and to others who are just finding the courage to reach out for help.

Perhaps, putting moderation on the table alongside of abstinence will draw more people to the feast of sobriety earlier. And, perhaps, being less afraid to come to the table, they will feast on the experiences and lessons that are lavishly displayed at a much younger age instead of struggling on their own for so long, as many of us did.  Perhaps they will find that moderation is more to their taste. Then, again, perhaps they will come to the table intent on partaking of only moderation, but find their eyes are drawn to abstinence. They have a taste and they come back for more.

Regardless, of whether you choose moderation or abstinence, I'll make room at my table for you.

Thank you Jackie for making room for everyone at your table, too!

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Why Is Moderation A Dirty Word?

I recently responded to a post on another sober blog about moderation.   One of the followers of that blog had written in and said that she was still struggling with the idea of giving up drinking forever and she was asking if moderation was possible. I responded, of course I did, that I do know people who moderate successfully, but it takes a lot of work and I'm not convinced that it ever becomes mindless or as unfettered as quitting all together.

My response that moderation was possible for some people was a lone soldier standing in a battlefield ringing with war cries of, "Moderation is a waste of time, impossible, and dangerous!"

A few days later, I read another comment from a follower who said that she had been abstinent for 8 years and then tried drinking. As we so often hear, and we know so often happens, she fell right back down the hell hole and was having a harder time climbing out than she'd ever had before.

I replied to her comment, "Thank you for sharing this. After five years of not drinking, I need to hear these stories to keep me on the path I'm on." Because, I do believe, for me, that trying drinking or even moderation again, would be dangerous. After all, I had started to exhibit signs of physical dependence and kindling.

I was informed my comment was awaiting "moderation." Now, I don't remember my comments needing moderation on this blog before, maybe they always had required this, but I don't think so. Maybe the blogger decided to moderate all comments on the post because the discussion of moderation is such a controversial subject in the sober world. It shouldn't be. Maybe my comment was moderated because I said that moderation is possible for some people. It is.

I don't think discussing moderation is dangerous, I think it is necessary. All of us tried it, for way too many years. On our own. Many of us avoided reaching out for help from others because we were told too often that our only solution is giving up alcohol completely forever, no matter the level of drinking we were worried about. If we were worried at all about our drinking, that must mean we have a problem and we should quit.

I'm calling bullshit on that.

So instead of reaching out to ask for help, when we first became concerned, we waited until we had become so lost and so embroiled in our habit and maybe so addicted, that, for many of us,  it did become impossible, a waste of time and downright dangerous to try and moderate.

See, I do believe moderation can be all those things, but not in the beginning, not when we first become concerned, not the first time we say, "I need to drink less."

Yes, some of us, even in the beginning, may find that moderation is an impossible goal for us. But wouldn't it be better to realize that sooner than later?

For some people, people like me, attempting moderation is the only step they can take and when you tell them it is a waste of time, that quitting all together is the only step available to them, it keeps them from taking any steps. And, to me, that is more dangerous than attempting moderation and failing.

This guy says it a whole lot better than me.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Perverse Pleasure

If you asked me what I love about sobriety, I would say, the starkness and solitude of it. If I was going to paint a word picture of that starkness, it would be a shaft of winter sunlight piercing through a window with plain cotton curtains onto a weathered gray table with a centerpiece of fruit. Or, a still as a church, snow covered prairie with a lone tree stripped of its leaves and one lonely set of footprints.

For so long I feared that starkness, it is exactly what I didn't want. I wanted whirling lights and ringing laughter and the never ever alone-ness of drinking.

But then, the laughter became hollow and the lights dizzying and I found myself so many times alone in a crowd. At least I thought I was. Was I the only one that had begun to dread the life I thought I loved?  Was I the only one who kept drinking long after I wanted to stop?

Was I the only one scared to death to imagine a life stripped down and myself naked?

I received this comment the other day from a friend of mine who read my book:

"I didn't start reading your book because of my drinking, but you got me thinking
maybe I should be thinking about it. Your description of how you are
seeing the world sober, was an eye opening reminder for me. I have
never been one for New Years Eve partying because I take a perverse
pleasure in waking up with a clear head when the rest of the world has
a hangover."

I agree. There is a certain perverse pleasure in knowing I am one of a hardy but small population who is sober when the rest of the world seems to be gleefully drunk or not-so-gleefully hungover.

There is a special-ness. Even a superior-ness. As though I've been chosen. 

But I know that's not true, because I know everyone that suffers can make the choice. 

We are not chosen. 

We choose...

The perverse and seldom achieved pleasure.

We choose...


Friday, September 30, 2016

Day 1 Again

I'm not overly fond of Day 1's, I had way too many of them, and I don't remember any of them as being enjoyable. All I remember is feeling defeated, ashamed, hopeless, lost, powerless-need I go on?
Oh maybe way back somewhere, I saw my Day 1 as a show of strength and full of promise, but that was before I knew how strong the pull of booze is, how many times it would defeat me.

Sometimes, many times in fact, I think the term, "Day 1" should be stricken from the vocabulary of us that are in recovery. Regardless of what "Day 1" proclaims, we never go back to the beginning, we don't erase every step we've taken or every lesson we've learned. I would much rather hear someone proclaim, "I stepped back on the path today" or "I'm back on my way to where I'm supposed to go."

But the use of "Day 1" perseveres. And you know what, may be it should. All of us that are not drinking today, even if we didn't drink yesterday, even if we didn't drink last year, are on "Day 1" again all over again. We join every person who is making the decision not to drink today, whether it be the first time they've made this decision, whether it is the 10,003rd day they've made this decision. Like those early "Day 1's" this day is full of promise and renewal. We are not alone, no matter where we are on this path. We are trodding through this Day 1 together.  We are all stepping back on the path. Again.


However, I understand if you have a hard time letting go of those hard feelings you have against "Day 1's" and I understand that you are not yet proud of the fact that you continue to persevere. You will look back someday and be very proud of how many times you had the indomitable spirit to get back on this path as many times as you needed to-I guarantee it.

But for now, I know you want to be done with your familiar, soul-sucking "Day 1's" and that's why I want to tell you about a gift from my amiga/sistah Jackie aka The Wine Bitch over at Sober Sassy Life. Jackie has created a Master class, "Ditch The Day Ones!" to help you discover how to never "suffer" through a Day 1 again. To find the link to this lesson, head on over to her recent blog,  "The Great Business De-Clutter" and scroll down to the bottom of the page and you'll see the Free Download.  

You're welcome.

Happy Day 1 Everyone!

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Free Book Tomorrow 9/29!

Kind of reminds you of those signs you see in bars all the time, huh? "Free Beer Tomorrow" and tomorrow always stays one day away. 

am making my book available for free tomorrow, 9/29 on Amazon. You do not have to join Amazon Unlimited to get this free download, you just have to choose the Buy Now option. 

However, if you buy it today or after tomorrow and let me know, half of my proceeds will go the support community of your choice.

I do not have any way of knowing who buys the book, so if you're worried about anonymity, you're safe.

After this promotion, I promise, I won't be bugging you about the book anymore.

***If you don't see free in the priceline of the book (not the free Kindle unlimited download) don't order it or you'll be charged.

****A mistake was made with the date of the free promotion, I thought it was supposed to start today, but it isn't starting until tomorrow, if you ordered the book today thinking it was going to be free and were charged, you can either return it for a refund or I can donate the full proceeds to the support community of your choice.

It is Free Right Now, Swear To God!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Trigger Mountain

Years ago I dragged my oldest brother to a huge party in our hometown, This party was a yearly event and half the town was invited and the other half spent the evening wondering what they'd done to piss the hosts off. My brother, Pat, had been sober well over 10 years at this point, he no longer lived in our hometown and both he and I thought it would be a great chance for him to see a bunch of old friends.

We'd been there about an hour when he sought me out.

"I need to go, " he said.

"Oohkay...just let me find so-and-so and say, 'Good-bye," I replied.

"No," Pat said, "I need to go. NOW!"

So, we left.

I remember wondering how the pull to drink could still be so strong in my brother who had never shown a moment of weakness in over 10 years.

I found out a few days ago.

The minute I got the word out that I'd published my book, I hitched up a rented airstream camper and headed into the depths of Yellowstone, far from internet and tv and all social media.

The Tetons and Yellowstone are slices of untouched paradise here on earth, mouth dropping beautiful,but when we were done with sightseeing every day and back at our campsite, with nothing but a roaring campfire and nature to distract me, I was at loose-ends with myself. I didn't have the book to work on, I didn't have my cycle of social media interaction to lasso me in, I didn't have the mindlessness of tv...

I was bored out of my gourd and that is dangerous ground. Because I knew the one thing that could end that boredom. I wouldn't have to do a thing but drink, and all of a sudden the enchantment would begin. The pull was strong. After five years.

This was my and the cap'n's first voyage into camping. I'd camped as a kid, but he never had, and two days in to the trip, I could tell he wasn't warming to my vision of our future spent in a vintage trailer on an endless ribbon of highway.

I knew if I'd still been drinking, it would have seemed so much more fun. We would have gotten  drunk around that campfire and sang and danced and we'd would have convinced ourselves that the camping life was the life for us.

That's how we ended up on a boat.

That's how we ended up in Mexico.

Continually drinking until a new life seemed to hold all the promise that our current life didn't.

Now I don't drink and this life I have is my life, the life I've worked to build for five years. There are times it is boring, there are times I wish it were enhanced and more enthralling than it is.

It would be so easy and quick to make it so.

And totally devoid of any effort or value.

I'm done escaping, I don't need to go find a better life.  I'm staying here where I belong.  Maybe I'll hang some new curtains.