About Me

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I have recovered from the disease of Alcoholism. I believe there is only one person really,.. everybody. And that peace of mind is everything. -So treat your neighbor as you would treat yourself, because your neighbor IS yourself. I think most of recovery is what I would call common sense, but that learning to be ordinary is a true gift very few people acquire. My ambition is to accept everything unflinchingly, with compassion, and therefore be intrinsically comfortable in my own skin, no matter what. I am comfortable being uncomfortable and am willing to go to any lengths to improve my life. I believe the Big Book was divinely inspired, and is extraordinarily powerful. Unfortunately AA's best kept secret a lot of the time. (In my opinion). I just try to do what works, no matter what it is.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

21 Today! (..Well 21yrs sober on the 1st of Jan)

Hey I ain't Cliffy, but I WILL have been sober for 21 !! years on the trot (a day at a time) on 1st of Jan 2008. In case these details are of interest to you)
Cool huh! Thank christ for bottled water and gym. That's all I can say!

But bless. I actually rather like Cliffy. He's an OK guy in my books.
Well I'm rather glad to have been without a drink or any other mind bending drug (illicit or prescribed) for all that time. It does you good, that's for sure.
I remember when I was new I used to think that was a really long time. I suppose it is. But when I was new it helped me a LOT to know that AA REALLY meant it when they said 'You need NEVER drink again', when they welcomed me into my home group all those years ago.
What I mean is, I took comfort from knowing that people COULD stay sober that long just by going to AA.
Amazing.

Not that it matters, but just in case you don't already know...

I have never been to rehab or psychiatric institutions. Just AA meetings.
I was REALLY mad. But AA worked for me. Mind you I found some pretty hard core big book recovery types in my home group. They had stories that would make your toes curl. And they had one it just using aa. Ah those were the days..

I have only ever done the steps (1-9) ONCE. With my sponsor from my old home group. Steps 10, 11, 12 are maintenence to keep one in 'FIT ! Spiritual condition'. (p84 i think)

I don't have a therapist. Nor do I envisage recruiting one at a later date.
I HAVE tried them in the past. The longest I had one was ? 2-3 years going once a week. I wasn't impressed. It was better than NOTHING. But I MUCH prefer, doing my 'own thing', meaning the kind of personal self awareness work that Eckhart Tolle describes in his book The power of now. I have no 'structure' as such, but I like to 'filter' whatever method I am using through (what I see as) the principles embodied in the basic text of AA. So I am kind of 'formless', but that sounds a bit naff. What I mean is I try not to be a slave to 'form', or structure basically.
BUT when it comes to taking people through the steps, I do NOT deviate from the method I was shown. Because it is the ONLY method I know WORKS. I only have EXPERIENCE of ONE method, so to deviate might ? Involve risking the other persons chances of long term sobriety. Who knows. Its just not worth the risk. So in THAT sense I am fairly repetitive.

I have not found it necessary to regularly attend any other 12 step fellowship in order to deal with or overcome other life problems. Coda, al anon etc etc. They are kind of nice to visit. Like once or twice. But I just use the AA 'vehicle' if you like.

I think the only time I have ever had mind bending drug in my system in the last 21 years is when I had a general anesthetic for 2 operations. Plus I think the injections dentists give you for root canal are 'mind altering' as such.
But I always ask for NON mind bending drugs for pain relief wherever possible.
NONE would be even better, but I am not up to the level of those people who have operations under hypnosis with NO general anesthetic at all!! I'm not sure I will EVER each that standard!

Nobody ever knows I am an 'old timer' unless I tell them how long I have been sober. Meaning sobriety has been VERY anti ageing. Thank GOD.

So yeah. AA 'works' basically.
That's what I'm trying to say.
Yeah I'm still a work in progress. Aren't we all?
Yes I still have mountains to climb. (usually mountains of text books for these essays that REFUSE to write themselves!)
But yeah, you know, there will ALWAYS be work do do.

I would say my main bit of work I am doing right now, is learning to have more FUN, and disidentify with 'victim-y' stories. Meaning not see my 'identity' as caught up in sad stories from the past. I've only just realized after listening to E Tolle audio books that there is STILL quite a significant identity caught up in the stories from the past. So that's what I am trying to drop at the moment. Its tricky, because you ending up building another identity, which I am trying to avoid. I don't want a NEW identity, I am trying to have NO 'idea' of who I am, and just BE. Easier said than done! But hey, the only instant thing in AA is the coffee! (But if you REALLY kept in in the day, you would not think of yourself as a product of a PAST, you would be TRULY in the day. In the HOUR, and the past would be something else ENTIRELY. So you see, it IS an AA principle after all that inspires this new goal...
See? The work is never done! It just changes. That's all.
Right I'm off you guys. Those essays need doing!

19 comments:

Kathy Lynne said...

That's awesome!! You are a powerful example of what works and I am so grateful for your guidance these last 6 months. When I grow up I hope I can be just like you:) Congratulations, my Irish Friend.

recoveryroad said...

A happy and peaceful and sober 2008 to you!

recoveryroad said...

ps St Paul's is my second fave building in London.

Phyllis said...

Yahoo!! What an accomplishment for this day and age!! You have 172 more days than I do.
Your sobriety story is alot like mine..no treatment, no counselor, just one day at a time and steady AA meetings.
Congratulations to you.

penni said...

wow, you!! happy anniversary - if i were there, i'd give you a *chip and a hug* :)

i, myself, and almost one month. i have a bunch of months to go before i catch up to you...

Willa said...

Happy Birthday! I wish I was there to see you get your chip and your cake. You must blow the newcomers away in the rooms.

I have 682 days sober today. I hope to continue on. I enjoyed talking to you that one day. I hope I catch you online again. Thank you again so much for your time. Sobriety is the best thing I have ever done for myself.
You are an awesome role model. Thanks for sharing your blog with us!

Willa

Mary L A said...

Congratulations and celebrations! You are a form-free inspiration to all of us and a joy to encounter n the present moment. Love & hugs. Mary L A

Shadow said...

21 years.... congratulations! you are an inspiration!!!

thanks for the link, must still check it out, too many people around me at the moment but i'll certainly have time in the new year to enjoy it!

happy new year!!!

Shadow said...

21 years.... congratulations! you are an inspiration!!!

thanks for the link, must still check it out, too many people around me at the moment but i'll certainly have time in the new year to enjoy it!

happy new year!!!

molly said...

Wow!!! 21 years?!!1 SHAZACK!.. that is sooooo wonderful. I'd love to give you a big ole hug and squeeze in person. But alas, I hope a cyber HUG and MUUUUAH kiss will do for now. You are an inspiration to me and I am so grateful for you being YOU and for your sharing of all the resources on your blog. Your blog has been so helpful to me in almost every "step" of sobriety so far. And I was thinking about how I said I wonder if someone like me could find a spiritual teacher.. And I realized - ya know?? I kinda already have one - YOU!! It's funny to me how if we just step back and PAUSE for a brief moment that something we wanted was actually there all along.

Gosh, I really just can't thank you enough for your encouragement and gracious sharing of experience, strength and hope. Thank you my friend - from the very very bottom of my heart and soul.

love you,
molly :)

Shannon said...

I just think you are pretty fantastic... happy birhtday and happy new year... Have a great time tonight, and thank you for all you share here and there

It's all about meee...... said...

Congratulations!
In my drinking years I was constantly at shrinks and doctors with only one agenda, to GET DRUGS. In AA I have the solution.
I think you are wonderful. Fireworks have been going off all over the world just for you!

An Irish Friend of Bill said...

Ah bless, some faces I haven't seen for a !! while. hi there Willa!, Mary l a!, and 'it's all about meee' !
Nice to see you! Wow 682 days is COOL Willa. I knew you would cotton on to this AA lark fairly sharpish. Excellent. And Mary, you will be a ! year in March, ( a day at a time) Where did the time go? Wow, it FLASHES by doesn't it?
and Penni with one month! how ! Cool! its VERY exciting when people are new. so many possibilities and stuff!!
Hey well thanks for all your very kind comments. Its always been a REALLY nice thing to know you've contributed ? something. But step 12 was always pretty awesome for that kind of thing. One of my favorite highs!

But yeah its nice to get compliments but It reminds me of a Winston Churchill quote in the power of now book..
I will have to look it up. Something about the MASSIVE contradiction between the perception by others and the deeply ! unflattering and highly conflicted inner condition one lives with. Deeply flawed and what have you. Can't remember it exactly, but I will have to jot it down when I find it.
Meaning the human condition is always a bit !! ego puncturing, no matter WHAT you do really. Never mind eh? We're ALL in the same boat there, so it makes no difference...

Ah bless and thanks Ms Molly, Ms Shadow, Kathy, Phyllis, and the TOKEN guy!! Mr Kenny, for all your good wishes.

Thanks!! and I hope you guys have a GREAT !! 2008

johno said...

happy Anniversary!! happy new year 21years.
I have to say though (seen as you dont like complimets...) you DO look like an old timer, in fact a VERY old timer, get down that Gym! There are no days off at your age!

Glad to read your enthusiasm as always, good luck with the essays

Recovery love as always x

FUN bring it on!

Texaco said...

So, I don't get it. Do you think this whole sobriety kick you've been on is more than a phase? LOL

I love you. I'm grateful our paths have crossed. You inspire me and help me see more broadly and when I grow up I want to be just like you. (j/k)(not really).

Happy Birthday!

Syd said...

You are a wise person and someone who I admire. Your 21 years and the way that you work the program is an inspiration to many. I'm not an alcoholic but get so much from what you write. Thanks my friend.

ann without wine said...

Happy birthday! You are amazing!

Determined1 said...

congratulations!

mudlurk said...

Well you've got a year on me mate and guessing by your profile you may well have been going to the same meetings as me way back when (Joys of Recovery) circa 1988-90. Nice blog