Archive for the ‘Recovery Rants’ Category

It seems as though ingesting booze the old fashioned way – through the mouth – is just a tad too boring  for the new generation of party animal – if you want to get it done properly – pouring vodka it into your eye or ‘eyeballing’ is the way to go.

Call me boring, but WTF? When I hear about stuff like this, I always wonder about the first person to ever try it and what was going through their head at the time, was it something like, “Hey! I just had a really good idea! Instead of swallowing the shot like you bunch of pussies, I’m going to pour it into my eyeball! I’m going to do it now, here we go…….Owwwwwwww!”

When I first read about this I was shocked that someone would ever attempt something so obviously dumb and dangerous but the truth is I realize that I could have easily been an eyeballer had this stunt been doing the rounds when I was out there because I was both an idiot and an alcoholic – not exactly a recipe for making great decisions – and once I started partying pretty much anything was on the cards.

So what does this attention grabbing stunt have to do with being an alcoholic? While not everyone who partakes in this idiotic craze is going to end up an alcoholic, some of the early signs of alcoholism are blackouts and drinking alcohol in dangerous situations such as driving drunk. Ingesting alcohol through your eyeball sounds pretty dangerous to me – if a person has got to a place while under the influence where they think this is a good idea then they are either a complete idiot, or are on the path to being a substance abuser or both.

And whether or not it’s true that this is a fad and a case of teens behaving recklessly, I’m saving a few seats in the rooms for the eyeballer – because that’s some alcoholic shit right there.

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Having spent the last few weeks in the company of teenagers, I’m more convinced than ever that the act of having a real (non abbreviated conversation) is going to be a thing of the past. In fact, I have no idea what they are saying most of the time because not only do their fingers communicate in shorthand but now their mouths seem to have followed suit.

It’s a whole different lingo and it makes me feel as though the English language as we know is disintegrating in favor of the quicker, easier, lazier way.  One teenager I spent time with had her phone with her 24 hours – it had become an extension of her hand. If she was doing her homework, the phone was in the hand that didn’t hold her pen; she sat with it while we watched DVD’s, constantly tapping away in the background. It was next to her while she ate meals and she slept with it at night, the only clue that she was no longer texting came via a loud crash from her bedroom – it was explained the following morning that the crash was her phone dropping out of her hand and landing on the hardwood floor after she had fallen asleep.

The normal moods and rants of the average teenager seemed to be perpetuated by the jingle of his or her phone and the subsequent electronic epiphany. There was laughter and cursing, tears and frustration. I wasn’t sure how much of these reactions were down to teenage angst or the misinterpretation of an emotionless text. A few letters that are zapped between teenagers seem to have the ability to insight feuds that I can only recollect happening to me on a face to face basis in the school playground. Only when I saw that persons face or heard their voice could I see if they were joking, angry or about to beat my head in.

The teenagers I met didn’t seem to want face to face time or actual conversations with their peers. In fact, it seemed like an inconvenience when I suggested they call the offending person and clarify what exactly the issue was. It was exhausting just to watch as they went from their cell phone to the internet, bearing their souls and innermost feelings on Facebook with 400 of their closest friends – each of whom, incidentally, got to put their two cents in and fuel the shit storm further.

So what does this rant about teenagers and texting have to do with recovery? In the past I have communicated with my peers via text, and for the most part, it worked out okay – especially if I was sociable and in good spirits. The problem came when I wasn’t and I wanted to isolate. That was when texting became my disease’s best friend;  no one had to see my face or hear the depression in my voice – all I had to do was zap a quick note that all was great, followed by a smiley face, or if I really wanted to seal the deal and convince the recipient of my well-being, I would throw in a recovery slogan like, “I couldn’t be better, I’m letting go and letting God!” When the truth was, the only thing I was letting go was my ability to be honest – as I sat on the couch crying, munching chocolate and pretending to be fine.  As a recovering alcoholic, I needed to be accountable and rigorously honest. I found that I couldn’t do that if I was able to hide behind a keypad instead of making a phone call. Because instead of verbally saying “I need help,” I’d find myself texting “ I can’t make the meeting tonight – don’t worry about me though, I’m doing great :)”.

For now, it seems teenagers, texting, and all the drama are bound to go hand in hand. But in recovery we are learning to live in the real world and decrease the drama. This means having open conversations, face to face meetings, and other personal interactions with people who can see through the smiley face bullshit and figure out what is really going on. The best thing I did in early recovery was pick up the phone and talk to my sponsor on a daily basis. It was her suggestion, not mine.  At the time I hated the idea of speaking to her every day, but it just so happened that I hated the idea of drinking again just a little bit more, and so I did what she suggested 😉

I started drinking at age 13 and somehow managed to survive my teens and twenties, finally getting sober in my thirties. Every day, I’m reminded of how lucky I am, usually by a story in a newspaper or a newcomer in a recovery meeting.

No one is immune when it comes to drugs and alcohol,  whether it’s kids whose lives end before they even get a chance to start or teenagers who think binge drinking is ‘normal’. Not to mention the families who are burying their teenagers when they should be sending them off to college or the babies being left alone to fend for themselves while their parents are out drugging.

These are just a few of the stories that I have come across recently in one newspaper. There are thousands of newspapers in the world today and you can be sure that each one of them will run a similar story to the ones mentioned here.

In this story, the parents of the boy who was throwing aTeenage drinking death party – where a 16 year old teenage  girl drank herself to death – denied supplying alcohol to their son and his friends. Apparently the parents were hosting their own party at the same time, in the same house.

Read the full story here

teen bingeIn another story published the day after the one above, 2000 students take part in an ‘organized’ mass pub crawl.

Click here to read more

Taken just 3 years before her heroin overdose

Photo was taken just 3 years before her heroin overdose

A 16 year old schoolgirl dies from heroin overdose, despite her mother’s attempts to get help for her daughter, click here

drunk briton falls from balcony

21 year old falls to his death from a  5th floor balcony after an all day  drinking binge Full Story

single mother binge drinking

A 22 year old single mother leaves her four young children including two babies home alone while she went on a 24-hour drink and drugs binge. Click here

drunk driving car crashA retired policeman drives home drunk and crashes the car,  resulting in the deaths of four people, including his wife, two 10 year old girls (his stepdaughter and her friend) and another family friend who was also in the car. Read the full story

A 14 year old schoolgirl dies after taking a dangerous new drug known as ‘meow meow’. The drug is a mixture of ketamine and plant fertilizer Mephedrone,  and is said to have effects similar to cocaine and ecstasy. Read more

Two 21 year old British students killed by a drunk driver while working at a summer camp in the U.S. Full story

Teen Vodka epidemic – IN the U.K. more than 100 girls a week ended up in hospital last year after binge-drinking, with 4,939 girls aged between 14 to 17 being seen by doctors for alcohol poisoning over the past five years (compared to 1,776 boys) – an increase of 90 per cent since 2003. Read the full story
Here is one woman’s experience concerning the loss of her brother:

I don’t have a link to supply you with, but my 30-year-old brother passed out and fell from his 9th story balcony in June of 2006. He had struggled with alcoholism since he was a teenager and, that night, he was having a party to celebrate a promotion that he’d gotten at a new job. He leaned over his balcony, using the railing to push against his stomach, to throw up. Instead of throwing up, he passed out. He died instantly.

I stumbled across this blog via Google. Certainly, convincing people of the dangers of alcohol is an uphill battle. I know this, firsthand. People would rather believe that this kind of thing happens to everyone else. Just like anything, I suppose.

Since my brother’s death, I’ve been looking for ways to reach out to help people like him. He wanted to get sober. He knew it was time. He just never quite made it to his goal. If I could help just one family avoid the wrenching, soul-twisting pain that my family and I have had to endure in the wake of his loss, it would be worth it to me.

I just want to say that when I lost my brother, I was pregnant with my first child. That paradox is indescribable and torturous. I have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I have amnesia surrounding our childhood memories as a result of PTSD. I have flashbacks because of PTSD – vivid ones. And nightmares. I don’t post this for pity or attention, but to point out that choices made because of alcohol addiction profoundly affect everyone around the alcoholic. This is my story. There are thousands more like it.

My brother was a good person. He wasn’t some thoughtless party drone who didn’t care what happened to the people that he loved. He loved me and I, him. He did not want this for me. I know that. But, it can never be taken back. And it happened in an instant. And it was completely preventable.

Alcohol kills.

I’m glad for you that you’ve spared yourself and your family.

There are many more stories that never get told, if you come across one, please post the link in a comment.

teenage drinkingI grew up in an alcoholic home in England (where the legal drinking age is 18). Booze didn’t last very long in our house, because it got drank as soon as it crossed the threshold. My parents did a lot of their drinking outside the home at the pub but often brought people back to the house to continue the party. I remember one time I was 15 (I’d already had my first drink at age 13) and my parents were downstairs partying on a Sunday afternoon. People kept coming into my room and asking why I wouldn’t come downstairs and join the party. Did I mention I was 15? 

It doesn’t help teenagers when they grow up in an environment where they routinely see their parents drunk, it sets an example of this is acceptable, this is what people do. It only makes matters worse when they encourage their kids to drink with them. Then there’s the parent who say they’d rather the kids do it around them because they are going to do it anyway. Some parents even buy booze for their underage kids and their friends and host underage drinking parties in their houses. I’m all for educating kids about alcohol, but I’m not for the attitude of some parents (some of which I know personally) who think it’s ok if their kids drink with them or hang out in the local pub at age 16, because, apparently they are going to do it anyway, and in the words of one parent of a 16 year old girl I know, “I may as well drop her off at the pub so I at least know where she is.”  Not only is this parent knowingly letting his kid break the law, he’s helping her to do it and putting her in a potentially dangerous situation.

I have a 9 year old son and I’ve already started talking to him about alcohol and why I don’t drink it and the fact that just because I don’t drink doesn’t mean everyone shouldn’t drink. I’ve already let him know that if he has any questions at all about drugs and alcohol, however stupid he might think the question is, I’m available to talk to. Hopefully, once he gets to the age where all his friends are doing it – he will be armed with the facts about alcohol and alcoholism, as well as his family history of abusing it.

I’m not kidding myself though, I’m pretty sure he will drink before he reaches the legal age, but one thing I do know is that I will not encourage him by dropping him off at a bar or a friend’s house where booze is being served to underage kids. I’m not going to adopt the attitude that at least I’ll know where he is and he’s going to do it anyway.  I think the easier we make it for them to drink underage the more likely they’ll do it and while I can’t stop him from drinking when he gets to the legal age, I’m not going to condone it or encourage it before then. 

For more on teen drinking, click here

glumI was in a recovery meeting yesterday at my local AA club and I was so happy to see a young lad of 16 years old at the meeting (he was with his mother who was also an alcoholic). He introduced himself as an alcoholic and even shared a little about how he got there, I absolutely could not ever imagine doing that at 16 – what a brave kid.

…Then another person with 9 months of ‘recovery’ shared and the warm, fuzzy moment was busted. This person basically talked about how recovery was terrible and each day was spent barely hanging on. They went on to talk about how miserable they were and how they tried to fill the hole that was left by their drinking with something else. They actually went on to tell everyone in the room that we need to fill the hole with family or work or buying cool stuff. 

I couldn’t wait for this person to shut the f**k up! I wanted to jump in and scream that they were scaring off the newcomers! I didn’t come to the rooms of recovery to be miserable! I had enough of that while I was using and if sobriety was going to leave me as miserable as when I was using then there was no use being there, I’d go drink! I came to recovery for the solution to my drinking problem not to hear about how bad sobriety was and how life still sucked! We all have a giant size hole left in our lives when we stop using and some of choose to fill that with our Higher Power and a recovery program. 

Thankfully I didn’t share at that moment and vent my anger but I calmed down and prayed for this person instead. I’m glad I took a time out because someone else stepped up and shared and said exactly what I wanted to say but in a much more diplomatic way! We are all sick people getting well and we are all on our own journey to get there. This person who had shared how unhappy he was being sober felt what he felt and obviously something wasn’t working in his recovery life (or maybe he just wasn’t working a recovery program).  

If you are new to recovery, just know that none of us came to the rooms of recovery because things were going great in our lives! We didn’t just decide “oh, I think I’ll just drop by AA or NA and see what they are doing in there”. We came because we desperately wanted help to stop drinking or using. And the good news is there is a solution, there is a life that can be had where we are at peace and no longer craving our drug of choice, our obsession can be lifted if we are willing to follow a few simple suggestions by people who have been where we are and have come through it.  Just know that  if our lives weren’t significantly better by being in recovery we certainly wouldn’t be sitting in a room full of drunks and addicts on a nice Sunday afternoon. 

I went up to the 16 year old newcomer and his mom after the meeting and welcomed him. I mentioned there were many meetings in our city for young people who want to get sober and thankfully his mom said she had the information on those meetings for him. If you are a young person trying to get sober, click here for more information on young peoples programs and please keep coming back because we really are not a glum lot.

easyI started working with a new sponsee two weeks ago and she has about 45 days of sobriety. We have been going to meetings together, talking on a daily basis, reading the big book together and fingers crossed, this weekend she’ll complete her Third Step. Last week (after we’d been working together for only one week) she happened to blurt out that she  really wanted to get started on her amends because there were people who were waiting for her to make things right. I asked her what had prompted this and she said her adult son knows someone who is a recovering alcoholic, they work in the same office and the man told her son that he had 90 days sobriety and he is already writing his amends letters. Her son went on to tell her that the man he works with said this is where his mom should be at too.

Needless to say, I was exasperated, because not only is she getting advice on working her program from someone who isn’t even in the program himself, she’s was also being told by a family member who was being told by another person who has 90 days sobriety. It doesn’t bug me that the person with 90 days is telling someone else where they should be in the steps (he doesn’t know any better and probably thinks he’s helping), it’s that my sponsee’s son is taking what this person says and running with it, putting pressure on his mother to make amends, way before she is spiritually fit to take that on. She is living in a sober housing facility, struggling to pay rent there, trying to get a job and all the while she is still in a fog from the booze and scared and apprehensive about the future. It’s a little frustrating when a sponsee who is already under a lot of pressure and anxiety because she is so new to recovery, feels pressure to rush things because she wants to make her family happy. 

All I could do was explain to her that she is right where she needs to be. We are not rushing through the big book or the steps; we are reading and concentrating on the step she is on until she has a full understanding of it. We had only briefly touched on the rest of the steps after Steps 1, 2 and 3 because there is no need to worry about those until we get there.  I tried to explain to her that by completing each step to the best of her ability, will better prepare her for the next step and so on.  

She really wants this, she wants a life without booze and she is doing the best she can, working the step she is on, listening to suggestions, developing an understanding of her Higher Power and taking it one day at a time – that’s all any of us can do. If she can concentrate on working her program and not have other people tell her how she should be working it, hopefully the rest will fall into place.

miserable_cat My thoughts are on a constant merry-go-round at the moment, over and over, just like a hamster  spinning in it’s wheel. I’m worrying about the future, I’m over thinking the past, I feel restless and  irritable. I haven’t been to a meeting in over a week, I haven’t talked very much with another  alcoholic, Instead, I’ve been inside my own head, full of self-pity and alone with my disease.

 My Sponsor once told me that no matter how new I was to sobriety, even a couple of days or a week – no matter how bad I felt, chances are there was someone in the rooms of recovery who was worse off than me. (At first I didn’t want to hear it because as far as I was concerned no one had it like I did.) Thankfully that idea was squashed when I followed the suggestion of my Sponsor and went up to a person at a meeting I attended who had just got their 24 hour chip. I only had a week sober, but it was six days more than this person had and I was able to talk to them about what I’d been doing in the last few days. I even offered to meet them the next day at the meeting so we could sit together. The woman smiled briefly and said ok, then she went on to say how nervous she was because she didn’t know anyone, I told her that I felt the same way too and we could be nervous together. I gave her my number and took hers too and the next day I called my new friend to make sure she’d be there.

I walked away feeling like I may of actually made a little difference in that persons day and for a few minutes I had completely forgotten about myself (which turns out to be a really good thing). This stuff actually worked and I found out that a sure fire way of getting off the pity pot is to be of service to another recovering alcoholic or addict. No matter how small that service might be, it can make all the difference to someone who is just as scared and lonely as we are.

The only trouble with all this is, I have a short memory and when I’m knee deep in my own shit, it’s really hard to want to step in someone else’s. Even though, time and time again, this is something that’s been suggested to me, it’s still a stumbling block until I actually get up and do something about it. The good news is that when I do get off my ass – the blue mood is miraculously lifted, even if it’s for a brief moment.

Yep, I think it’s about time to get off my ass and go to a meeting.