A Trick and a Half

Quitting drinking or using – easy. You stop taking the substances and that’s it. You can quit twenty times a day.

Staying sober, now that’s a trick and a half.

AA says how to do it is HOW does it. Honesty (with self), Open-mindedness, and Willingness. I always want to add to it Positivity. As the other three, positivity is to be learned, not simply acquired.

All of us, I assume, don’t want to let distress of the great world mess our own world and how we prefer to have things done. Not many people know how do deal with usual stress when they are healthy. Anxiety and ever lingering worries happen to all. Now, when you are on path of recovery from substances, you are hardly healthy. And anxiety grows as you learn to abstain and live without harmful stuff that you used to rely on to keep in better spirits and overcome obstacles, while to trying to behave in a socially acceptable way.

Quitting and recovering on ones own is not a good idea, as I’ve learned with my own skin. I tried. It didn’t work nicely at all. Besides not having anyone to talk to about what I was going through, I also allowed myself to do the role of calling myself on my own bullshit. Big mistake. Add to it that I didn’t really know what I was dealing with and had no working plan. Mission failed at start.

Those days, my mind was a haunted house.

(the image above is cute, not weird, but you get the idea) Old memories and ghosts of life that didn’t go too well, it seemed, those kept coming often, if not all the time. Resentments kept crawling in legions out of the shadowed corners when I least expected them. I was lucky my physical health wasn’t much compromised, yet still I was treading on a black ice. I didn’t see the danger of swimming alone, so to say, not seeing but only imagining the course.

After plenty of attempts of swimming alone, I had to ask for help. I’ve quit drinking, yes, but I stayed not drinking without resentments of not drinking. I managed to stay and keep positive, because I’ve allowed myself to be honest with myself, not reject ideas without looking at them first, and oh, was I ever willing to keep going forward. It worked and still works. There is still stress, still tricks, because I consider life itself as a one big riddle with a perpetual bag of tricks tucked in its armpit. Those won’t run out, as far as I can see. But now I’ve got a plan, and not imaginary. I know what works and I do that, and I don’t swim alone anymore.

(the image was copied from https://www.pinterest.ca/pin/371617406723139066/?autologin=true thank you.)

Smoking Open Lights

20190223_145531 9I’ve just realized that I’ve made it for ten years without smoking tobacco or any other substance this past month. I used to count them, but this year it somehow crept up on my unexpectedly.

I most likely wouldn’t be able to come to not smoking at all if thirteen years and nine months ago I didn’t make a conscious decision to quit… drinking. Weird? No anymore, not to me anyway.

I came to the recovery fellowship and I’ve learned plenty of skills. As the result, I’ve quit drinking which would not work if I didn’t acquire a certain program of thinking and being, a life style that pushed for a healthier life in spirit, body, and mind. Thanks to that, I managed to see clearer some other unhealthy things that I did in my life, behaviors that didn’t help, such as isolating and judging others. A couple years after, “doing” the Steps, I came to the realization that I could quit smoking cigarettes with the help of the Steps wisdom since nothing else worked. This worked out successfully, as some other things. Some didn’t, but that’s life. I keep trying and among other things, I keep saying “thank you” when things work out, whether it is small or large.

“Thank you” is something so easily said, as well as “sorry” or “how are you”, and I think often we don’t really think about it, as we say it to others, or when they say it to us. I try to think about it lately, though. There are lots of things to be grateful for, even if life is not working the way I would prefer it did.

In the Fellowship I was taught to be grateful for every day. It worked when I tried it in my morning prayer. Yet I still resisted being grateful throughout the day. I was happy for sobriety yet I often resented people around me. My first couple years in sobriety were of solid sobriety but at times I felt miserable, because… well, I don’t really know why, but I think I was not there spiritually as much as I could have been. What I decided I’d start doing is saying thank you to people who did the jobs that I knew I would never do successfully. They did their service and I paid for it and I’d say thank you. Within less than ten days my outlook on life started changing for the better.

Soon after that I started working at a homeless shelter. There I met people who were angry about everything, dissatisfied with anything, and it used to distress me, but with time I learned to think they were not having a good day lifetime long. There were also people who woke up and said thank you to anything, to every little thing others did for them. I felt connected to these people, and years later I wrote a novella about that spirit of open-mindedness and gratitude for life.

I don’t think I’d be able to come this far in life and doing reasonably well if I didn’t push myself out of the dark room and allowed myself to have a different life. I used to isolate so much I’ve become a professional isolationist and procrastinator with a diploma hanging on the wall. Even in an active community of recovery with so many things happening, with so much positivity and vigor one can still live a stagnant life. I could have easily slipped through the cracks in these rooms if it wasn’t for the man named Ted. He not only welcomed me into recovery, he also gave me a good kick in the butt to live my recovery actively, and he did it with a cheer and I appreciated that. Years later our paths separated due to disagreements which is still upsetting to me, but I hope he is doing good and maybe one day we will be talking again.

Ted had a vibe full of life, and that vibe infected me, wanting more of life than just living sober. It brought forth the fruits of labor that was sober living, joyful life of recovery that keeps going on, like a wheel turning. There are many people in rooms of sobriety that I’ve met over the years. I am grateful to them all and I hope many others that are in need of help will be able to open their spirits to gratitude and trust to the world wide fellowship of AA and as the result will heal and expand their lives for much better than they ever knew was possible.


instead of a diploma, enjoy the front image that was taken by me. the punctuation (or the lack there of) game made me capture the sign and then inspired me to write this. so, thank you to whoever designed the sign ignoring the (un)holy laws of English punctuation and those who put the sign up.