Sunday, March 31, 2013

Came to Believe

“Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.”

     I heard in a meeting tonight that hope is faith with a track record.  When I look back on working my second step in recovery, I knew I was insane, and I had hoped that the actions I was taking would restore me to sanity.  I had the hope that if I believed that a power greater than myself could restore me to sanity, it would be done.  Now, having worked all twelve steps with my sponsor and reworking them again with my sponsee, I can see that taking that leap of faith worked.  But, I had to take that first step. 
      When I finally saw my insanity in a way that I had never seen it on that fateful night on November 4, 2011, I knew I could no longer go on living that life.  Looking at those Denver police officers, hearing the toilet still flushing my bag of blow in the background, thinking I was going to jail, I knew my life was completely out of control.  The insanity had finally reached its pinnacle.  And in turn, I had reached my bottom, right there on Columbine street.  At this point, I believe that my mind opened, honestly, for the first time.  I could fight no more.  I was willing to do whatever it took to never be in that moment ever again.  I knew, it was all downhill from there if I did not change my ways.  I had to get help or I would surely die.
     My sponsor broke it down to me in very simple terms.  At two months sober, I needed everything to be simple. I was broken and damaged and he knew exactly how to explain this step so my polluted mind could understand and accomplish what I needed to.  He said first we came.  You came to this 12 step program to get help.  Then, you came to believe.  I think that belief for me was that I was in the right place and this program could work if I worked it.  Then he said, you came to believe that a power greater than yourself can restore you to sanity.  I remember this moment vividly.  I believed that with my sponsor having twenty plus years of sobriety that these steps had worked for him so they had to work for me.  All I had at that time was hope.  What did I have if I didn’t?  A life full of pain, misery, and a horrible death was what was left for me if I did not have hope.  SO, I leaped, with both feet, into uncharted waters.  No human being, including myself, had been able to restore me to sanity in 36 years, so I had to believe that this would work.
     It has now been over a year since I first worked step two with my sponsor.  Now that the fog has lifted and the pain and misery have subsided, I fully believe that my higher power did for me what I could not do for myself.  Today, my mind is the calmest and quietest it has ever been.  Even before drugs and booze I was completely out of my mind and that is not the case today.  I do believe, however, that my higher power did not necessarily, intervene in my life and restore me to sanity.  What he did do was give me a daily reprieve by showing me the next right step to take to restore myself to sanity. He gave me the opportunity to put in the work to achieve the sanity I have today.  And just so I am clear, the sanity I have today, is not a clean slate.  I will always be insane; the difference is that I have tools today, to keep me as sane as I possibly can be.  If I deviate from this path, the insanity will come back with a vengeance and my life will become unmanageable again, and I will surely relapse.  So, I take life day by day, doing what I need to for myself to prepare for the next.  It has taken a lot of practice, prayer, and pain to learn what to do and not to do.  The nice thing is that everything I do came in the form of simple suggestions in this program.  I am not perfect in these actions every day.  I am however progressing in a matter that shows growth and for that I am grateful.
     I have found a beautiful and simple substitute for drugs and alcohol today.  I will continue to do what is suggested, and I know I will be ok.  I no longer have any urge or thought to drink or drug.  I am warm and safe in God’s hands.  I will continue to be grateful for all that I have especially my sobriety and sanity.  And in that I will continue to find a little bit of humility, which reminds me to give what I have away.  Today, I am sober and my life is manageable by the grace of God.

Happy Easter 

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Two Choices

      I think I have finally figured out what it means to learn from the mistakes of others.  Over the past month or so I have been hearing a lot about relapse, death, and misery.  I want nothing to do with any of these things.  Sure death is inevitable and bad shit happens to everyone.  But I don’t have to be the cause of it by not doing what I have learned over the last 16 months.  As I watch these people leave the program, talk about their relapses and all the other chaos and bullshit that is out there waiting for me, I realize that does not have to be my story.  I have two choices, do what is working and stay on the path of success and happiness.  Or go back to living a life full of shit!
     I know there are plenty of stories of bottoms much further than mine, but my bottom works just fine for me.  As much as I hate to see people in the rooms struggle, come back in after a relapse, or share about the death of a friend from this disease, it brings me a bit of pleasure.  That pleasure comes from hearing about what not to do.  When I think back on my life while I was out there using and drinking I can remember the pain that I lived in.  I was completely miserable, lonely, and desperate.  It finally got to the point that all I had in my life was drugs and alcohol.  I would like to say that I still had the music, but even that had turned into a playground for my intoxication.   I had zero hobbies, I did not do anything without a bag of blow in my pocket, and my health was on a rapid decline.  In the Big Book this big pile of crap is called the four horsemen.  They are described as terror, bewilderment, frustration, and despair.  These four words summed up my life completely.  There was no other way around it; I had officially reached the status of a coke head.  I was living in filth, pushing the boundaries of my mortality, and saw no way out.  Misery and death were my future.
     After figuring out that if I wanted to live my life had to change and I stopped digging that hole and got help.  That help has taught me a way of living that I never knew existed.  I have learned to let go of that control that I never really had in the first place.  I have learned that as long as I stay sober and help others, especially other drug addicts and alcoholics; I will get everything in life that I need.  The voices in my head have quieted down to a whisper that I can barely hear, and I can actually see the time where they will be gone for good.  I don’t fight any more.  I am no longer the center of the universe.  Today, my serenity and peace are way more important to me than being right or even being loved for that matter.  I am content alone, and for the first time in my life my goals are attainable and I am focused and motivated.  I work these 12 steps to the best of my ability and work on keeping in conscience contact with my higher power.  I do this simply by asking for his help throughout the day, and thanking him every night for another day sober and alive.  For the first time ever I have gratitude and peace.  Thank God!
                It is unfortunate that not everyone gets it.  I am so grateful for the stories of the ones that don’t make it.  It reminds me quickly of where I will end up.  So since I have a choice today, I am going to stick with what I have been taught and continue to work this wonderful program of recovery.  Thank you all that share your stories of fucking shit up over and over again, you have no idea how you help me stay sober.  I will continue to pray for those that still suffer in hopes that they too might see the light, stop fighting and find peace.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013


      I laugh sometimes when I think back to the first few months of my sobriety.  I seriously thought that just getting off the drugs and booze would be enough for my brain and body to start working correctly and I would get back on track immediately.  I swore I was going to be back in Colorado in six months, a year maybe.  I can remember applying for all these jobs back then that I was in no way ready to do.  A lot of those first few months is really hazy.  I remember being angry, guilty, sad, depressed and every other feeling one goes through when getting sober after twenty two years of mass consumption.  Now, at sixteen months clean and sober, I can say that those feelings are long gone.  I have even managed to fill that big gaping hole in my heart that left me feeling lonely and low for so long.  I remember what it was like leaving a meeting high from recovery and crashing rapidly because of that emptiness. It is quite amazing what a year and four months and a lot of hard work can do for a person.  I look in the mirror now and I do not recognize the person in the reflection.  This person is new to me and new to the world.  This brings me a huge level of excitement and motivation.
      Since I graduated from high school in 1992 I have had moments of motivation.  I chased a culinary career around for years.  I never did challenge my self to move up the ranks how ever.  I stayed where I was comfortable.  My sales career went about the same way.  I have never been interested in a management position of any kind, most of all I just wanted to make my money and be left alone.  This cycle has been repeated over and over for twenty years.  All that time I never thought to myself that maybe the whiskey and cocaine were sucking the life out of me.  This was also the same story for school.  Every time I have gone back, the first semester or two usually goes pretty well, and then partying would quickly move in and become more important. Within a few months I would withdraw from my classes or just quit going.  Now, when I look at my transcripts, all I can do is shake my head in amazement at the track record of dumb shit, year after year.
      This year I am going to attempt finishing my degree.  I have a friend that keeps asking my why I am doing this and what is going to be different about it this time.   My answer to him is that, I don't get fucked up any more and I have a program of recovery that I work diligently.  And to add to that, I know what direction , finally, that I want my education to go in.  I now know with out a doubt what I want for a career and what I need to do to get there.  For the first time in my life, I know it is going to be hard, and I am excited about it.  I no longer have any excuses.  I am no longer the lazy, druggie, dumb ass, I have been in the past.  Now it is my time to shine...  Heck, I have even been thinking about grad school.  But one thing at a time right!
     Along with neglecting my career and education, I neglected my body all those years as well.  I knew I wanted to change that about myself, but I never had the balls or the drive to make any sort of commitment and stick with it.  Hell, its pretty hard to quit smoking or exercise when I was wasted all the time.  At the end I was eating so poorly it is amazing that alone did not kill me.  The real funny part is that I knew better, I just did not care.  Fuck it, I am a junkie is what I thought.  These thoughts today are long gone.
     I am taking these few months before school starts to focus on my health.  I do not want to have a heart attack at forty  and both are right around the corner.  Now, I have had brief moments of motivation in this part of my life, but not like it is today.  I have never been so sick of smoking cigarettes the way I am today.  When I do look in the mirror, I am disgusted with what I see from the neck down.  My goal is to have a really good routine set by the time school starts in May.  I spend everyday day watching what I eat, and I am exercising six days a week.  Hard.  I am so sore right now I cannot sit still.  Once again the question pops up in my head.  What is going to be different this time?  One big difference is that now I have a niece that needs me to be healthy in every aspect so I can be the uncle to her that I am suppose to be.  Heck, she wears me out now and she just started walking.  I will never keep up if I don't take care of my body.  I definitely do not want my sister to have to explain to her daughter that her uncle is gone because he was to selfish to take care of himself.  I will admit, there is a little bit of motivation coming from the ex.  For all the times she bitched about my weight, I'm healthy now so fuck you too!  Ha!
     It is nice to have finally rounded the corner in my recovery and be heading forward, and not looking back for a minute.  I am a completely different person today and I am happy about that.  I am slowly getting to know my self, finding new hobbies, and getting involved in some that I never could or would have living that other life.  Today, my heart is full with love and gratitude.  Everyday is a new adventure with new goals that keep me busier than I have ever been.  So for today, I am going to to continue to keep doing what I am doing, because it is working.  Thank God!  I am a lucky man, not many people get to live two lives!


Monday, March 4, 2013


     At the beginning of my recovery I was very unwilling.  I was only going to go to certain meetings, I was only open to this or closed off to that.  My preconceived misconceptions were going to guide me in my recovery hell or high water.  Thankfully, I listened to my sponsor and the people around me.  I do not think I would be here writing this today if I had done it my way.  I know I have shared this before but I want to emphasize how much of a fighter I was the first 37 years of my life.  I fought everyone about everything.  I could never take anyone's advice or learn from their mistakes.  I had to prove that everyone was wrong.  Most of all, I wanted everyone to look at me and see how great I was because I was right.  Well, I was wrong.  Way wrong.  Today, I have finally stopped fighting and am keeping an open mind and my willingness is off the charts.  For me at least. 
     Because of this new found willingness my life has grown leaps and bounds.  My willingness to believe that a higher power could restore me to sanity and do for me what I could not do for my self has changed my life completely.  Through working the steps with an amazing sponsor I have finally found the God of my understanding.  I would have never learned about this new way of life, much less experienced it had I not been willing.  I would say it is the one action that has completely removed my stubborn blinders.  And for that I am so very grateful.
     Despite my very pleasant up brining in the Christian faith, today it is still something that I am very uncomfortable with.  It is something that I do not agree with in a lot of ways.  Most of all I do not understand it.  But, I do believe that my God and the Christian God are one in the same.  Mine just does not have a whole book about him.  I am not sure if that makes any sense, but it is the best way to explain it.  Well, yesterday I had an opportunity to spend some time with my sponsor and go to a Christian meditation/reflection group at a Jesuit retreat center on the Chattahoochee river.  The place is very welcoming and serene.  I was nervous upon arrival, but I knew I had to remain willing in order to get something out of the experience.  The participants were very kind.  We had breakfast and coffee together before we started.  I was the youngest person there by at least ten years.  When we started we went around the room and shared something about who we were.  I shared that I had not known God for a long time and was there to help with my new found relationship with him.  Two women shared two scriptures and gave us questions on each that related to our own lives.  After they were read and their thoughts were shared we all went our own way on the property and took the time to meditate and reflect on the readings and answer the questions.  The first reading was on temptations.  How appropriate is that?  Well needless to say after my time of reflection I had plenty of answers to the questions that were asked.  After we reconvened, they asked us to share our answers or thoughts.  I went first, which surprised the group I think.  I shared my views and thoughts and how they related to my recovery.  It was such a surprise that one of the women gave me a big hug when it was all over and commented on how brave she thought I was for sharing all that I did.  It was by far one of the best decisions I have made in recovery to attend this seminar.  I thuroughly enjoyed it.
       What I am happiest about, is the fact that after this weekends events, the changes I have made in my life are becoming visible.  I was able to set all my doubts and grievances aside and in return I was given a great experience.  This is truly a miracle.  I never thought I could be this person I am today.  I thought for sure my life was always going to be a struggle in every way.  Tonight, I am so humble and full of joy in the changes I have made.  Thanks to my program and my willingness, I am slowly becoming the man I always wanted to be.  And it feels GREAT!