Thursday, December 13, 2007

What is Recovery - Where do I start?

I found some definitions on the web:

continuing abstinence

"a voluntarily maintained lifestyle comprised of sobriety, personal health and citizenship.”

living a life free from addiction and engaged with the family as well as

a voluntarily maintained lifestyle composed characterized by sobriety, personal health, and citizenship

Recovery is, in the easiest of terms, about nothing more or less then the recovery of life itself. It's about getting back something of value (life), not just giving up something that is strongly desired (addiction). In other words, recovery is about expansion, health and growth. It is about freedom and liberating oneself from the constricting demands of addiction. does one DO it?

That was so hard for me.

I need a this then this then that. might say...that is what the steps are...

but the 'steps' are so....? one really talks about the 'steps' least, they didnt' to me.

When I first became active in g.a., I was excited...I was going to be the best g.a. member ever...I was going to get an a+ in recovery....but....what to DO?

I was hungry for information...I had abstained for a short time and it was getting easier, life was getting better...I was FEELING better...I was even starting to feel somewhat HAPPY!! I had to make sure I didn't go back to that dark, sad, lonely place. HOW???

Wellll... I was attending meetings. In the meetings that I attend there is a table where the 'chair' and the 'treasurer' for that particular group sit...they conduct the meeting...there is a circle of chairs where we each take a seat when we enter.

Many people attend the same meeting(s) regularly, so the people get to know one another.

When the meeting starts, we read the 'combo' book (g.a. literature) from beginning to end...we take turns reading a page or so...then we have a short break.

During the break there is usually small talk....often but not always recovery related.

Then we return to the room and each person gives their 'therapy'....they have the floor..they discuss whatever is on their all of the meetings that I have attended, there is no 'cross-talk' (i.e. no one comments or interrupts at all when someone is giving their therapy...except for perhaps the chair(s)).

People talk about all sorts of things...some people reminisce about how much pain they were in when they were in 'action'...some people discuss some aspect of the program or what recovery means to them at that particular time...some people tell all about their day...

then we say the serenity prayer and everyone goes home.

I wasn't gonna learn how to 'do' this by listening to some lady 'I woke up late and then I had to cut the grass and then I took a bath and then I fixed my lunch...'

A group of 'regulars' often went for coffee after the was called 'the meeting after the meeting'....I started going with them....and I'd ask questions...and I'd LISTEN.

'Attend 90 meetings in the first 90 days'

'Get a sponsor and work the steps'

Some people do attend meetings daily...some people do that after many years of sobriety...some don't appear to need as many meetings. I don't.

The sponsor thing....that is a toughie....on soooooo many levels...but OK...I WANT MY LIFE..... but who to choose?

There really wasn't anyone in my meeting that I could 'relate' to or that 'had something that I want' :(

One Saturday morning I attended a meeting that I'd never been to before.

I told them, when I shared, that, usually, when I attended a meeting, it would 'lift' me...and I would feel GOOD and STRONG for at least a week or so..but that particular day...I did not feel good...I did not feel strong...and as soon as I left there I was going to gamble.

My husband was out of town...I had some cash that I was going to use to take my children to see a movie..but I had gambled it.

Before I left my house to attend that meeting...I went through my jewelry...for the first (only) time...and I brought a ring that was a gift from an old boyfriend with me to that meeting....I HAD to get money...I HAD to take my kids to the show....I was going to pawn that ring right after the meeting...

BUT...I was going to get more money for that ring than I needed (to go to the movies) I was going to gamble just a little before I went home.

After the meeting, several of the women approached me to discuss 'roadblocks' that I could put into place....never leave the house without a written list of exactly where I was going to go and STICK TO IT...blah blah blah...oh yeah..and 'get a sponsor'...WHO? I asked.. who should I ask?

One of the ladies suggested another who happened to be there...said I should ask her to be my 'temporary' sponsor until I found a 'permanent' I did.

I did pawn that ring.

I did take my children to the movies.

I did not gamble that day...or for the following 20 months.

She was a very nice lady. She didn't really 'teach' me anything...she just sort of 'told' me what to do....I dunno...maybe I didn't give it enough of a chance? maybe it would've evolved into something? but...I needed to know what to DO......She would call me (or tell me to call her) daily and when I got urges to gamble I was supposed to call day, I got a coupon from a casino for cash.

I needed cash.

I was on my way to get the money when she called. I told her what I was doing...she threw a fit..told me to turn around, tear it up.. blah blah blah...

I had already discussed this with my therapist, and I was going to go and I was NOT going to gamble.

I had borrowed some money from a friend that I was not going to be able to pay back for a very long time..and this coupon would provide me with some cash to at least START the process.

So...I had a plan.

The day prior, I bought a card..for my friend...I wrote in the my friend...from my heart...and I was excited about sending it to her...with some money.

I brought that card with me..into the casino.

My therapist said to call her as I entered and she would stay on the phone with me while I got my money...the process is several steps...and one has to walk ALL the way through the casino...then stand in line for a while...surrounded by people playing machines.

I didn't call her.

I didn't need to.

I had that card in my purse and I was going to mail it. WITH the money.

and I did.

I did that at several casinos...about a dozen times (until they stopped sending them to me).

I'm not recommending this to anyone..many people relapse trying to do this...MANY do.

But I had DECIDED....I want my life.

Anyway.....the sponsor....I didn't really do what she said.

I didn't call her daily (I was busy)...and I wouldn't stop going to get my money (I wanted it..and I was fine)....and I didn't regularly attend drifted apart.

It was my fault really...but....the "do this....don't do that" really did not appeal to me...I didn't need a BOSS...I needed a TEACHER.

to be continued......

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