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Thread: Taking Stock

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  1. #1

    Default Taking Stock

    I originally posted this in my journal - hope that it's helps someone as much as it helped me to write it.

    It's this time of year when some people look back and see where they were, where they are, and what the hell happened in between. Well here goes....

    Started out the year sober - right around 8 months sober. I was very active in AA for the first 6 months, then things started to drop off.

    First few months of the year were ok. Then at the end of June - WHAM! I decided to start drinking again. Without too much detail, I was angry and resentful about parts of my relationship with my wife. That after 14 months of me being sober that everything wasn't where I thought it should be. And it wasn't "I think I'll have a beer or a glass of wine" it was "I'm going to get a bottle of vodka, drink the whole thing, and start sneaking around again."

    That lasted about 2 weeks? Ended up in the ER with horrible alcohol withdrawals. Next morning I logged onto to SMART for the first time.

    That was almost 6 months ago. In the past 6 months, there have been difficult, intense, and incredibly rewarding changes in my life. There were a few key moments. One was about a month or so in when I sat at Starbucks on a Saturday for about 5 hours and did nothing but worked on my CBA and HOV. Really, really worked at it. Looked deep inside myself, saw somethings I liked, somethings I didn't, but didn't hide of deny any of it. I was brutally honest with myself as I went through the steps in the Workbook. I can honestly say that was probably one of the most important days in my recovery. It wasn't the proverbial flipping of the switch, but more like watching the sunrise or something. Not a light bulb moment, but a very powerful thing that grew little by little.

    There were some really simple things that I did that day that still stick with me. I actually thought about and wrote down what I wanted in life. What was important to me. In all my frantic activities to try and stop drinking, I don't think I ever just slowed down to ask myself what those things were. Then, as it lays out in the Workbook, how did drinking fit in with what I wanted? The answer to that one was pretty clear.

    Another thing was realizing the deal for me with this power of choice. It works both ways for me. If I'm going to own the positive choices, then I'm going to own the negative ones too. All those times I relapsed, all the sneaking, all the lying, etc. those were all me. Those were decisions that I made. Doing this pulled away any mystery or fogginess about why I couldn't stop drinking. It was because I didn't want to. When I made this realization, I also realized the control that I had over my drinking. If I could decide to do it, I could decide not to as well. The true power of choice.

    There's been a lot of other things that were important too....taking this attitude of self honesty and determination into therapy, where I've made more progress in the past 6 months than in the previous 3 years combined. I've got a lot of **** from the past that I'm sorting out, and I finally decided to stop dancing around the edges of it all just dive right in. It's amazing what I can do when I just decide something is important, make a commitment, and put in the effort.

    Getting past the idea that all this stuff (therapy, doing creative and fun things, communicating with my wife, attending meetings, etc.) were these horrible and tedious things that I had to slog through and were these giants weights on my shoulders. Turns out, that was pretty much all in my head. For the most part, all those things are wonderful things that have made my life so much better, not punishments or disciplinary in nature. Recovery changed for me with this realization. It wasn't about not drinking, it was about doing things to make my life better and to make me happy. It's a lot better being active in your own happiness that it is to be active trying to restrain your self from doing something. That said, it does get tiring sometimes, but anything that takes a lot of effort and commitment gets tiring. What matters is the payoff.

    After some time, I started to see what could be in the future. If things were getting better now, what could life be like in another year or two? In other words, I began to have hope. Not just that I could stop drinking, but that I could be happy. And that I could be happier. Hope is really, really good thing.

    Self-confidence....I started to trust myself again. I saw that I was making good decisions and I that I could believe in myself.

    Taking in all of life - by that I mean embracing all those good feelings I so desperately wanted as well as the feelings that I didn't. Being present in my own life, being active in it, feeling the good and the bad.

    I'm sure there's a lot more, but I'm running out of gas here. Many of these things are still works in progress.....I've by no means "figured it all out". However, I do feel that I'm on a good track, and that the changes between me at the beginning of the year and me now are tremendous. I smile now, for real. I laugh for real. I feel good in my own skin for the most part. I'm honest and real with myself. I care about and like myself.

    It's been a good year.
    "My powers are ordinary. Only my application brings me success." - Isaac Newton

  2. #2
    LMR555's Avatar
    LMR555 is offline SMART MB Co-Liaison
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    Hello Kendoo97,
    Thank you for sharing. This was my inspirational reading for the day! I loved your comment..."Another thing was realizing the deal for me with this power of choice. It works both ways for me. If I'm going to own the positive choices, then I'm going to own the negative ones too." That was powerful for me also.

    Best to you and congratulations on all of your successes and your lifestyle change.

    Lmr
    "Discover the Power of Choice!"

    “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” – Chinese Proverb

    Join the team as a SMART Message Board Volunteer!! It can encourage growth and joy. Or support with a donation http://bit.ly/passthehat

  3. #3

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    Good post Kendoo97. A lot of that stuff really hits home for me, especially the part about having hope for the future now that you're not drinking. I stopped drinking a year ago, and one of the unexpected side effects is that I find myself being much more optimistic about my future now than I was back then. This new found optimism is one of the things that helps keep me motivated to stay off booze.

  4. #4

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    Great post. Your optimism is inspiring. I cannot wait until I feel hopeful about life again.

  5. #5

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    very inspirational thank you

  6. #6
    Join Date
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    Dear Kendoo97
    It sounds like you deeply committed to the idea of self management. You made a number of statements that I resonated with in reading this and I particularly like what you said here:

    "Another thing was realizing the deal for me with this power of choice. It works both ways for me. If I'm going to own the positive choices, then I'm going to own the negative ones too."

    Just fantastic to read. I'm so very happy for you and wish you a continuing journey where you are able to be present with all that life brings, good and bad.

    With respect
    q7
    "The central human drama is not wanting the experience we are having"

  7. #7

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    Great post Kendoo97, Congrats... really helped me today (47 days sober) to stay focused especially the part... "I started to trust myself again. I saw that I was making good decisions and I that I could believe in myself" Had a kind of light bulb moment when I read that...thank you.

  8. #8

    Default

    Thanks everyone. I did recently hit a rough patch, but I know that I did not lose any of the things that I learned, or the ways that I've grown. I still have all of those things, and they continue to help me move forward and make positive changes to my life.

    All the best,

    Kendoo97
    "My powers are ordinary. Only my application brings me success." - Isaac Newton

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