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Fenquat’s Story

Member stories of addiction recoveryIt was about 11 years ago that I decided it was a whole lot of work drinking every day and scurrying around keeping all my plates spinning at the same time. Seemingly I would awaken about 1:28 AM every night and spend the balance of the night tossing and turning wondering how I had screwed myself up and if I tried to quit would I be able to do so. See in my head as long as I didn’t try I couldn’t fail and I wasn’t totally screwed because I hadn’t really tried and failed yet.
Time for a change was way past due.

There was an EAP (employee assistance plan) where I worked and I dialed the number, explained my situation and got hooked up for 6 or seven free sessions with a drug/alcohol therapist. First meeting, questions about my usage, yup I qualified with 3-4 1.75 liter bottles of rum a week plus some wine and or beer. More questions about my view of various things and he suggested that I might not be a good match for AA, which I heartedly agreed was true. So he said he would go with a different approach, something called CBT and something else called REBT.
The balance of the 1st session was more talk and a pant load of home work (home work?!?) forms for me to complete before the next weeks meeting.

Change is possible. It happens every day. It is up to each of us to work to insure the changes that come are those that will help us to reach our long term goals.

Next session a bit of a review and the bastid zeroed in my contention ‘I can’t stand it’-referring to the idiots I had to work with. He was all, really, can’t stand it? But you ARE standing it, it’s jut you don’t like it.

To which I would agree and then say ‘but I REALLY CAN’T STAND IT’. ..he, bastid that he was, would simply ask things like, has it killed you? Has your head exploded? You know mean questions like that, to which I would explain, no, but I can’t stand it.

This dance, with it’s variations continued. Not a light bulb moment but finally I admitted I knew what
he meant. In truth I had understood pretty much right off the bat what he was saying it was just that ‘I can’t stand it’ was inscribed on the inside of my skull from years of delicate mis thinking. A slight touch of what would be called DIBs (dispute irrational belief) before the session was about over-more homework and the suggestion I check out a website called SMARTRecovery.

Next meeting ABC, DIBs, life goals. ABC, too murky for my cognitive abilities but DIBs? I take to that like a duck to water. I have always enjoyed a good debate with others, now this was arguing against my own self-too cool! Suddenly I can see lots of strange, self defeating beliefs that weave their way into and around my thoughts and much like jumping up and shouting at some bull sheet advertisement on television I am all over them.

Long story short after the fifth weekly session the therapist and I agree to forgo further meetings as I have the basics down and to just bank the unused session, just in case. It’s still in the bank.

So, SMARTRecovery back in the old days, no where as large or complex as now. The forums were less busy but excellent for seeing situations and how they might be dealt with in a SMART manner. Far fewer meetings as well. I do the ‘orientation to SMART’ meeting run by ABCTJ about 6 weeks in a row, my head is clearing but I find repeated exposure to the same material is very helpful.

I notice some names on the forums who appear to make sense and begin to follow them, Marky, Dan, DonS, Barbless,, Aknsue…I begin to relate to other new folks by their posts. I spend time in chat, lots of goofing around and a bit of recovery related stuff as well. I join the Barb and Helen show (a Saturday afternoon meeting run by Barbless and Helenwheels). Somewhere along the way I send a PM asking about becoming a volunteer of some sort. I figure it would be helpful to SMART and more importantly helpful for myself as well.

An established meeting needs a new Host and I agree to try. With Ms Cody as a sidekick I run my first meeting. To me it is a train wreck of epic proportions. Lesson learned I’m not as SMART as I might believe. Newish mantra evolves from this self described disaster, you don’t have to be perfect. It gets better. Later I Host the Orientation to SMART meetings which are great fun (to me at least) and as the saying goes, to teach is to learn twice. I get to help Ms Kalar with the Thursday morning fun fest meeting, which as the name might indicate, is great fun. When we move to London I continue but the meeting time for me is a much more civilized 11:00AM.

Many, many people contributed to my growth and still do-too many to list for fear I might leave some out but my thanks go to each of them.. I’ll finish this missive by saying there are great people still here today. Learn the Tools, they work but they don’t do anything for you until you put them to use. Keep the three P’s in mind. Patience, Practice and Perseverance.Please Donate Today!

Change is possible. It happens every day. It is up to each of us to work to insure the changes that come are those that will help us to reach our long term goals.

I’ll do an update in another 11 years, stay SMART folks.


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