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  1. #1
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    Default Even when my mother died

    I’ve been free of alcohol for 6.5 years now, thanks to a wonderful outpatient program, the SMART tools, the kindness, love, and support of many people, and tons of hard work. But this week, something happened that caused me to recall my very first day in my outpatient program. It’s something I wish to share with Smarties. I wish to offer hope to people reading this.

    My first day in outpatient, the group of us first-day folks sat around a table, and most of us had just expressed that never having another drink or drug the rest of our lives was impossible to imagine. Then the counselor asked us what we thought would be the most impossible thing about it. She said we’d go around the table and each would share our most impossible thing.

    The first thing that came to my mind was, “If my mother died, I couldn’t handle it without drinking.” I thought that was an embarrassing one, maybe childish or silly, but it was my first thought, so I decided I’d go with it. I was happy that the counselor didn’t ask me to share first. She picked the person across the table from me.

    That person said “If my mother died, I couldn’t handle it without drinking.” I was floored. The sharing continued until it was my turn, and a few other people said that too! My turn came, and I said it, with tears in my eyes. Then I noticed tears in other people’s eyes too, thinking of their mothers.

    My mother died this week, on October 23. She was 93 years old; to me, to our family, her friends, and anyone whose life she touched, it seemed that she would go on forever. She was the dearest, sweetest, kindest, most generous lady, and the strongest, too, with a heart full of love for all. Her funeral was on October 27, which was the 40th anniversary of my father’s death. That date is a sad one for my mother and our family every year. My Mom was laid to rest with my Dad that day, so I mourned them doubly. But there was also a bit of comfort in that, and gallons of tears.

    The month before my Mom died was stressful and heartbreaking too, driving to and from her bedside in another state, advocating for her daily in the face of healthcare bureaucracy, comforting her, cheering her, being there for her, especially at the end. I was her healthcare proxy on her Living Will, and charged with following her wishes. That was painful.

    This is what I wish to share: Throughout all of this I did not have one desire to drink. It truly is possible. I never would have believed it, back on day one of outpatient. But I did it, and it was not a struggle at all. It is simply the new me, free of alcohol. And I believe this miracle is available to all of us. We can do the impossible, no matter what our “impossible thing” happens to be.

    For me, it started with simply giving this recovery thing a chance, even if I thought it was impossible. As I began to feel better physically without alcohol, I decided to keep working on it, what the heck. My outpatient program prescribed Rx meds to reduce my urges to drink, and to lift my depression. With that help, I decided to give recovery my best shot: attending SMART online meetings; reading the Handbook, the Toolbox, the Articles and Essays, and the whole SMART website; learning the SMART tools, writing them out with pencil and paper, and practicing using them in my daily life; improving my physical health with exercise and healthy eating; and developing new interests and friends. As time passed, I felt better emotionally too, renewed my career, and made progress in repairing my finances.

    The whole time, I told myself that I could go back to drinking anytime if I chose. Really. But as things turned around for me, I realized that I was moving towards something I want, rather than moving away from something, giving up something, white-knuckling it. That created a tremendous shift in my motivation. I decided to commit myself to my new way of life. Recovery ceased to be a job. It became part of who I am. It gradually and naturally happened, without putting pressure on myself, beating myself up, or anything like that. Kind of like an experiment that succeeded.

    I believe that where I stand today, doing “the impossible” - not drinking over the loss of my mother, whom I loved most in the world, started with simply giving recovery my best shot. I hope that giving it a shot leads to YOU doing YOUR impossible too. Miracles can and do happen here.

    With gratitude,
    Gentoo

    PS - Smiling through tears… I don’t mean THAT kind of shot! My Mom would have liked that joke.
    Last edited by Gentoo; October 29, 2016 at 4:51 PM.
    It's practically impossible to look at a penguin and feel angry. ~ Joe Moore

  2. #2

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    Hi Gentoo, I'm sorry for your loss. Your mother sounds like a great lady! On the flip side, I'm happy for your strong recovery which I'm sure pleased her and you greatly.

  3. #3
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    Thank you so much for your kind words, Patpeach!
    It's practically impossible to look at a penguin and feel angry. ~ Joe Moore

  4. #4
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    Gentoo,
    Thank you for sharing this.There will be people reading your words that will also have the shift you describe.
    Im thinking your Mother would be proud.
    All my best, Peg.

  5. #5
    Sam29's Avatar
    Sam29 is offline Distance Training Team
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    Gentoo, I am with you 100% and share all you mentioned about the changes you made in your life. "Recovery ceased to be a job. It became part of who I am. It gradually and naturally happened, without putting pressure on myself, beating myself up, or anything like that. Kind of like an experiment that succeeded."

    Finding this place in life is a reward in itself. Your mum will rest in peace, indeed.

    Love,
    Sam

  6. #6

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    Gentoo,sorry for your loss. I thought I would never make it back to recovery till I found SROL + folks like yourself who helped pull me over the goal line. I"m sure your mum is smiling down on you.

  7. #7

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    Gentoo, so sorry for your loss. Your mom must have been very proud of you.

    "The whole time, I told myself that I could go back to drinking anytime if I chose. Really. But as things turned around for me, I realized that I was moving towards something I want, rather than moving away from something, giving up something, white-knuckling it. That created a tremendous shift in my motivation. I decided to commit myself to my new way of life. Recovery ceased to be a job. It became part of who I am. It gradually and naturally happened, without putting pressure on myself, beating myself up, or anything like that. Kind of like an experiment that succeeded."

    These are the words I will look at everyday. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

  8. #8
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    Dear Peg, Sam, komoto, and Kar,

    Thank you all for lifting me up today. And my warmest wishes for a rich new life unfolding for you, with every sunrise.

    Grateful for your kind condolences too,

    Gentoo
    It's practically impossible to look at a penguin and feel angry. ~ Joe Moore

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
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    Alberta, Canada
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    You have my sincere sympathy, Gentoo. Losing a loved on is truly a test for all of us. You also have my congratulations for remaining strong throughout this sad and difficult experience and having the strength to keep what you gained over the last 6.5 years. You also have my thanks for posting your message here, where it will inspire and encourage others to attain what you have. Your mum must be so proud of you!
    Thanks,
    c5

  10. #10
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    Gentoo, that was a very inspirational story, even when my mother died. 6 years of sobriety is commendable! Thank you for sharing,

  11. #11
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    Thank YOU canco and Scout!
    Gen
    It's practically impossible to look at a penguin and feel angry. ~ Joe Moore

  12. #12
    df2's Avatar
    df2 is offline SMART Message Board Co-Liaison
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    So sorry for your loss Gentoo, that was truly a success and I'll bet it put a big smile on your mom's face.
    "The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time". Thomas A. Edison
    It's easy to support SMART, just click here!


  13. #13
    Gordon1's Avatar
    Gordon1 is offline SMART Online Facilitator
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    Very sorry to hear of the loss of your Mum Gentoo and my thoughts are with you, your family and friends.

    Thankyou so very much for sharing your story and your triumphs.

    You were one of the lights in my fog of early recovery and as a living testament to the goodness of your mother I thank you.
    What got me sober was trying to get sober. Every time I lapsed, picked up, drank, I was thoroughly beaten. I thought at those times "there is no hope for me" Yet, when I had recovered from those thoughts just a little, I thought "have another go!" It was a lot of little sparks, rather than a flame, that got me here.

  14. #14

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    Gentoo, my deepest sympathies. Reading your post has reawakened a deep seated fear. I lost my sister in 1976 and my mother in 1980. Dad is all I have left. He's 90 and we are devoted to each other. I fear the day he dies.
    I'm gonna just cut and paste this whole thread into my strength folder, sub folder family to use for the inevitable.
    Thank you for your strength, clarity and your ability to see past the pain.

  15. #15
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    Thank YOU, trickle.

    It's practically impossible to look at a penguin and feel angry. ~ Joe Moore

  16. #16
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    A big hug from me gentoo Thank you for sharing your inspirational msg
    ~~ Choice. What a concept. ~~

  17. #17
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    Thank you df2, Hugh. and love. Your words touched my heart.

    xo
    Gen
    It's practically impossible to look at a penguin and feel angry. ~ Joe Moore

  18. #18
    Join Date
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    Dear Gentoo
    I sit here and weep with sorrow and admiration for your great ability to do what "seems" to be impossible. And you have made the choice to make the impossible, possible. And so it is. My heart aches for you. And I'm so proud of you.

    With respect and warmth
    q7
    Last edited by Questor7; November 25, 2016 at 3:02 PM.
    "The central human drama is not wanting the experience we are having"

  19. #19
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    ((( My dear friend Q )))

    Your words mean so much to me.

    Love,
    Gentoo
    It's practically impossible to look at a penguin and feel angry. ~ Joe Moore

  20. #20

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    I lost my mother 3 years ago. She was the cement/glue that kept our family together. Who will be the matriarch now? I am first in line, but I don't think I can handle it anymore. I was always the good girl, blah, blah, blah... Always putting together holidays, birthdays, keeping family connected. I want my life back!!!

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