Recovery from Alcoholism – Wordless Wed w/Linky

Today’s wordless Wednesday post was a no-brainer for me when I scrolled across this photo which was taken at a recent photo shoot. I was struck by the lighting, the warm tones remind me of my perspective.

In this image I’m standing in a horribly dirty alley with trash strewn all around me and yet….there’s the perfect lighting which ended up in a lovely photo.

Beauty in the mix is what I’m always seeking in my recovery from alcoholism.


SoberJulie Recovery from Alcoholism

Please feel free to link up your Worldless Wednesday posts and thank you for your comments!

The Empty Mask I Hid Behind Was Alcoholism

I didn’t drink because I needed to.

To quell the desire to hide wasn’t gifted me to at birth, rather built over years of fighting to be heard by an imagined foe.

Foes hidden all around me, waiting for me to beat them into submission with my intellect and wit.

Wit that eluded me at the core, as I eluded myself into thinking I was winning a non-existant battle which was so important to me.

More important than the living and breathing entities around me, who were actual not fictional in my dramatic mind.

I didn’t mind the fight because as a girl we were supposed to be strong and outspoken, tipping a few with the boys defined us, with each glass I became increasingly worthy.

Worthy of myself…

I didn’t drink because there was no other choice; the years of watching others around me get lost in the syrupy-brain changer may have laid a foundation but they didn’t force me to tip those drinks to my lips.

mask of alcoholism

Photo:, “Mask” by graur codrin

My teeth, with their light purple film weren’t like that at birth…it took hours of bonding with fermenting grapes, hours of “hilarity” and  imagined importance.

Importance mattered, like the breath within my body it was a life force without which I was nothing….

Nothing could be taken from me, I reached out my long, hard talons and clutched this hollow life I was creating with the talons that pierced me.

Pierced my soul, overshadowing the light of my God. Overshadowing my birth-right of identity, descending past my own recognition…

Descension into the haze of numbness where I chose to be, that choice which once felt like no choice began as a choice.

The choice to become something that is nothing, to stash myself behind the empty facade of what I’d made.

The facade whose cracks formed over time, the wine flowing through.

Through until inside the facade my heart bled the booze, screaming to get the hell out.

Out into the sunshine, onto the road where I could just be.

Be something…

Something I didn’t know; something that may be nothing but it would be quieter out there away from the self depravation within.

Within the darkness of hiding within oneself there was a point where I turned.

Turned to myself and hated the ashen, crusty exterior which had once looked so glossy.

Looks being deceiving, trickery at its best….Turning me from myself as I was meant to be.

Being brave in that black cave of a moment the decision was made, self-hatred found to be insignificant next to the possibility of living.

Living as God has expected, designed and blessed me with….

With God I raged, I fought , I cried and bucked at the work I had to do…and I lost….

Lost that battle but turned to myself, feeling the cold realization that I was worthy of fighting for, not against.

Fighting to breathe unaided, to smile when I meant it and to weep as I felt.

Feeling as if it were natural for the first time in years, years where abandonment of my soul was a given.

Given a new life, learning and loving, frightened and shaking in my boots I took the first step on shaky feet.

One foot in front of the other, God-supported, family-nurtured I’ve arrived.

Arrived  here staring alcoholism in the face within this 24 hours of sobriety where Sober doesn’t Suck!



God's Miracle of the Week – What happened when a sober guy came clean

Lately I’ve been saving my deep thoughts from you all. It’s nothing personal, frankly I feel like I’ve been in a bit of a cocoon with my faith and sobriety and am just in here learning and waiting to share when I can wrap my head around the amazing things God does every day. Sometimes I need to just sit and be with God…apparently for long periods. I’m funny like that. Sometimes I get all hyped up and feel this deep, niggling need to get my fingers flying over the keyboard to share with you all and then other times my internal Julie is screaming at me to wait…that something is coming. I’m like that with laundry too…I type as I ignore the kabillion towels that need to be washed because my children don’t reuse towels…

So now I’m here amidst a house in chaos, with boxes piled around me from the trailer we emptied, my parents moving and oh and yes the bathroom renovation which is underway. Why would now be the time to share a story of faith with you when my life is in upheaval? Because God said so and no matter how much I’m bucking at His task (like a toddler) he’s telling me to pull up my big girl panties and write a weekly post telling you all about one of the many miracles I get to experience weekly. This is a commitment to give to you all a bit of me weekly, to stop going entirely silent when it comes to heart matters. Sigh..yeah add something else to the list God…growth right?

Here we go, The Miracle of the Week

To begin a long story in a shorter way I’m going to summarize some of it cuz we all know I can lament when I’m comfy in my yoga pants, with a coffee at the computer. We have a friend who we’ll call Chuck whom we’ve suspected has issues with alcohol and drugs over the past few years. We have gently tried to mention it but believe me when I say that the fastest way to end a friendship with someone struggling is to be an openly recovering alcoholic who they think is judging them…so it’s been a delicate process. Rather than confront him, we’ve been open with my life hoping he’ll see the amazing changes in it.

So the day came just a little while ago when he rang us up and asked if we could all have a chat. Sitting on my deck with his partner we listened to him pour out his heart with those ugly tears, telling us that he needs help and he’s an alcoholic. This is never an easy situation but within our hearts we were singing praises to God. Keep in mind these folks aren’t Christians so we couldn’t exactly jump up immediately and grasp them in prayers of thanks..funny how non-believers think public praying while in a hug is odd..ha.


So Chuck has been sober for over a month and rang me up yesterday to fill me in on his week. Earlier this week he’d gone back to a job which he’d been absent for during the beginning of his recovery. He’d had to take a lesser position and held some resentment about it, but knew he was lucky to have a job at all. His week rolled along, he was getting used to the routine again but still there was a feeling in his heart that he was alone while at work and being punished for being “different” .

When you’re newly sober this is a pervasive feeling, you can feel so isolated and alone because you’ve just killed your best friend. No longer can you turn to the bottle/drugs to help you deal with stresses or disappointments and Chuck was feeling emotions he hadn’t felt clearly for years. Each day he talked himself out of being angry the best he could and showed up to work, performing his job in his usual professional manner while stewing inwardly.

Chuck was doing the right things, he wasn’t drinking, was going to meetings and trying to pray. It was a tough week and he was really down by the time it was drawing to a close. On Friday he arrived at work feeling dejected and as he was entering the building his manager who had been away called him over. The manager is a friendly guy and they had a good rapport so when he asked Chuck what had been going on, Chuck let loose for the very first time and told him the whole situation. He didn’t gloss things over and said to me that it felt “freeing” to tell someone outside of his family that he’s an alcoholic, that he’s getting help and showed off his one month sobriety chip. Of course as soon as the words were out Chuck realized that he’d put himself in a frightening position, one where he could have been judged but God had his back.

God’s Miracle

His manager put his arm around Chuck’s shoulders, took the chip from his hands and said “Yeah, it’s a bitch…I have enough of these chips to decorate a Christmas Tree!” Turns out his manager is also a recovering alcoholic and offered his help to Chuck anytime at all.

Now my friends if that’s not an example of God’s miracle I don’t know what is! Chuck took a very big leap of faith by being vulnerable (something he had not done in YEARS) and sharing his truth with another person. He chose to live in the light, not knowing what the repercussions could be. When I asked why he did this after years of hiding, Chuck simply said he was tired of being that guy and it felt like it was time to finally begin to trust his Higher Power.

The miracle here is that leap of faith, trusting that he could face anything as long as he is sober and willing to do as God guided him to.

The joy in Chuck’s voice on the phone was palpable, gone were the resentful undertones and the sarcastic comments. He could truly feel joy for the first time in ages…because he was willing to actually feel and see God at work.

That’s God’s miracle for this week…do you have any to share?



Learning to Live Drug Free – A Reader's Story on Sober doesn't Suck!

Sober doesn’t Suck! is a safe place for people to share their stories of being an alcoholic, addiction and recovery openly and honestly. There is no requirement of sobriety for posting, if you’re concerned about your using I want to hear from you too.Sober

I recently received the following article from Pete Giannini.  I’m honored to share his story, hoping someone will find comfort, tools and hope in it.

If you’d like to tell your story, your feelings about your own addiction or that of someone else in your life please head over to the Sober doesn’t Suck! page. Addiction affects the people around us, I’m interested in sharing all sides.


The mind, body and spirit. They love you more when you’re drug-free.

I’m not going bore you with all the details, but it wasn’t that long ago I was a complete mess. Back in 2004 I decided to open a small business and was doing quite well for the first two years. The money was coming in and I didn’t have a worry in the world. Didn’t think much of the occasional drug use either. Until someone (my dealer) thought he would let me know he also had some crack for sale. Bad, bad, bad idea! Honestly, I knew it wasn’t a good idea considering I had done it 20 years prior and it had actually landed me in prison for a short stint. But, of course, I bought some. Great idea! NOT.

The Ride Down

I’m going to skip past the graphic details of the next two years and give you the end result: $60,000.00 roughly spent on crack. Business: Gone. House: Gone.

So now let’s turn this around. Surprisingly enough, my awesome family stuck with me throughout everything. I have the absolute best wife in the world and she knew I was better than my addiction. A dear friend, fellow musician, and current Chaser Eight band mate, Aaron, who over the years has become my best friend became an “on call” rescue centre. As it goes, it all ended with an arrest and I’m truly glad for that. It meant I had to go to counselling and develop tools to get away from and stay off drugs.

This may not be a very detailed story (which will be in my book) but I’d like to at least give some of my tools and advice on how I got, and stayed, clean.

Tips for Living Drug Free

One: (The most important!) The people who are with you when you use are not your friends.

Two:  The ones that turn their back are the ones that don’t know what to do to help you.

Three: Seek immediate therapy; your head is a mess. No matter what you think, you’re not thinking straight.

Four: (This is a tough one.) If you have someone who stuck by you, and doesn’t use, give him or her your finances. Sorry, but you shouldn’t handle your money, you can’t be trusted, and you know it.

Five: You need to be productive. It can be writing, drawing, art, or my personal favourite, music.

Six: Surround yourself with positivity. Whether it people, places, or things. Positive, positive, positive!

Seven: A spiritual or religious belief is a great thing. I myself have chosen the Buddhist practice because I found it was the most peaceful path for me.

Live Excited in Sobriety

That is a little of my to-do list that you would have to make fit in your life. Through my entire list, something that really and truly pulled me through and lifted me up was my music. Letting the brain fire up and the muscles get a good work out was great to for keeping me clean and sober.

Aaron and I had played together for a long time with many musicians, but I don’t think I ever truly felt fulfilled.

It was until an amazing singer and front woman approached me about being a full time drummer for her band that things changed for the better again. Being involved in a structured band that has clear goals, great song writing, and the opportunity to be creative has been a huge part of me staying clean. My head spins with ideas for songs, beats, and is so occupied with what we’re doing the thought or desire to get high doesn’t take up space in my head anymore.

I was very lucky to be asked to join Chaser Eight and for me it is one of the biggest parts of my sobriety. The point is if you have nothing positive to take up your time, like Chaser Eight, you can easily fall. Alone and bored is not good! Get help if and when you need it. It will be the best thing you ever do. Don’t live like there is no tomorrow, live excited because of tomorrow!


Pete Giannini (@chasereight) is the drummer for original, female-fronted rock group Chaser Eight. He is a recovering drug addict and struggles everyday with staying sober and keeping his mind on positive thoughts. Living where the band is based in West Haven, CT, Pete has been sober for over 4 years and with Chaser Eight he is currently working on their second studio album to be released in late September. You can find out more about Pete and Chaser Eight at


Facing the music- Being an artist in recovery

SoberSober doesn’t Suck! is a safe place for people to share their stories of being an alcoholic, addiction and recovery openly and honestly. There is no requirement of sobriety for posting, if you’re concerned about your using I want to hear from you too.

I recently received the following article from Ted Brown.  I’m honored to share his story, and hope it brings someone a ray of hope.

If you’d like to tell your story, your feelings about your own addiction or that of someone else in your life please head over to the Sober doesn’t Suck! page. Addiction affects the people around us, I’m interested in sharing all sides.


I always wanted to be a musician, to be more specific I always wanted to be a singer. From an early age it came pretty easy and I would sing along to my older siblings albums carefully following the printed lyrics (if they were included) trying to imitate every nuance. Listening to music on headphones was one of my first forms of escapism and I would fantasize about the lives of my rock n roll heroes while trying to decipher the words and their meanings.

By about the age of ten, I’d also tried alcohol for the first time and like every subsequent substance I’d put in my body over the next 20 or so years, I’d quickly decided it was imperative that I replicated that ‘feeling’ as often as possible. Although I can’t say exactly when it happened, I know that I’d started using one substance or another everyday by the time I was sixteen.

I was on a mission to be a professional musician and was fronting my own band, playing guitar and writing songs by my sophomore year. At about the same time my using was really catching hold. At eighteen, I was out of school, had left home and was releasing my first EP. I remember the thrill of hearing it back from the factory for the first time and how it’d really felt like I was living my dreams. Inevitably, every landmark warranted a drug and alcohol fueled celebration and by now I’d discovered there were certain drugs that could help me drink more and party longer. I hadn’t yet discovered the substance that would finally get me to rock bottom, but I was an addict- in my disease and ready to ride it until the wheels came off, and it would effect every decision and subsequent action I would take throughout my twenties.

Despite my addiction, I was able to achieve some goals (more to do with a little raw talent and some dumb luck than careful planning and hard work!) and I sustained a musical life, writing, recording, shooting videos etc up to my mid twenties. I was unreliable, and copping drugs became the priority before anything else could take place including shows, interviews recording sessions and even rehearsals. I’d always felt this nagging fear, that everyone else had some secret ‘key’ to living life that I’d somehow missed out on and the only thing that took that anxiety away was using. At 24 I was introduced to heroin for the first time and it became instantly clear to me that if I could feel that way all the time for the rest of my life, all my problems would be over..

My next seven years were completely dominated by getting, using and finding ways and means to get more drugs. Music moved further on to the back burner and when I did play, it was usually with musicians who used the same way I did. Pretty soon it was all about the using and I began avoiding old friends, family, colleagues- partly out of shame but mostly because I didn’t want anything getting in the way of my drug use. I went on methadone maintenance for three years and became more firmly entrenched in my addiction than ever before (methadone is a drug!).

After several detox programs and a shot at rehab, I finally made it back to treatment in July 2000. I was sick, tired, broke and carrying all my possessions in a large duffle bag. I was beaten down enough to take the first step and admit my powerlessness and unmanageability. I spent 18 weeks in treatment and slowly began a return to physical, emotional and spiritual health. I attended lots of meetings, so by the time I graduated I had created a solid network of recovering people many of whom I still have relationships with today.

I was always afraid that my life would be over if I ever quit using, that I would never be able to have fun again, that maybe I’d missed too many opportunities and hurt too many people. But over the next few years those fears would all be dispelled. I wondered if I’d ever be able to play music again- after all music and getting loaded went hand in hand for me. But the universe was conspiring for good, despite my fears and I was asked to join the band of an old friend. That marked a new beginning for me and I realized that so long as I put my recovery first, everything else would be OK. I ended up touring, co writing and re inventing myself as a guitar player and background vocalist. I’ve been lucky enough to tour to many places in the world I’d never dreamed of going, contributed to a bunch of albums and ended up permanently re locating to the other side of the world. I’ve had the greatest years of my life in recovery and today I’m genuinely excited about what the future holds while still being able to stay in the day and live life on life’s terms.

I recently recorded and released my second studio album- a selection of songs that speak directly of my recovery, it’s struggles and triumphs, and the wonderful, full (sometimes challenging and crazy!) life that I feel so blessed to be living. I just celebrated 13 years and I can safely say that not one day of that time has been as bad as any day I had in active addiction. I feel incredibly lucky that the obsession and compulsion to use was lifted from me and I do my best to help those who are newer on this path than I am.

Recovery is many things, but it’s never boring and I wouldn’t trade it for anything….. just for today!

Ted Brown (@tedbrown5) is an acclaimed New Zealand-born singer, songwriter and guitar player. His promising career fronting his own band was sidelined for 7 years when he became firmly entrenched in drug addiction. Now located in Los Angeles, CA, Ted has been sober for over a decade and his second solo album, An Unwide Road, shares his journey with an elegantly spare and tenderly introspective record.

Dis-Ease – Causes the Disease of Addiction

Sober doesn’t Suck! is a safe place for people to share their stories of being an alcoholic, addiction and recovery openly and honestly. There is no requirement of sobriety for posting, if you’re concerned about your using I want to hear from you too.Sober

I recently received the following article from Ester Nicholson.  I’m honored to share her words, hoping someone will find comfort and hope in them.

If you’d like to tell your story, your feelings about your own addiction or that of someone else in your life please head over to the Sober doesn’t Suck! page. Addiction affects the people around us, I’m interested in sharing all sides.


From my earliest memories, maybe as far back as when I was five years old, I lived a life of emotional dis-ease.  I was afraid of my own shadow.  I can’t remember a time prior to my sobriety, (and even the first several years of my sobriety) when I didn’t have that knot in my gut, (my emotional guidance system), that I was in fear.  In fear of what?  Well, of everything.  Bill Wilson, founder of AA states, “we are haunted by a hundred forms of fear.”  I would say that the majority of people on this planet are haunted every minute of every day by this sense of desperation, but because they’re not addicted to drugs and alcohol, can’t identify their addiction to this insidious infection called fear.

I was afraid of being left alone, and of not being left alone – both fears running at the same time.  I was afraid of being abandoned and rejected; yet I was afraid of commitment too.  I was afraid of telling the truth for fear of getting into trouble, and I was afraid of not telling the truth for fear of getting into trouble.  I was afraid of what others thought of me, and I was deathly afraid of not being thought of at all.


The constant feelings of being emotionally off-balance and out of alignment with my wholeness led to the manifestation of other addictions.  I was addicted to boys by the time I was ten, usually identified by adults as “boy crazy.” Now I know that I wasn’t boy crazy, but boy – was I crazy, as I desperately searched for anything and anyone who could take the fear away even for a moment.  If you could convince me that I was lovable, worthwhile, beautiful and worthy, the knot in my gut would go away, until you became all too human with your own dis-ease, and left me. Then I’d be on the floor in the fetal position, holding my stomach where that knot was like a hot poker burning a hole into my soul.

Fear was killing me – until I took that first hit of cocaine.  “Holy macral Batman,” I have arrived.  Sheeeiiit, I’m rolling now.  Fear – what fear?  I’m as courageous as they come.  I’m a singer, and when I would take a hit of cocaine I could hit notes higher than Minnie Ripperton – only while I was high of course.  I was even more beautiful than Cheryl Tiegs and smarter than Hillary Clinton, but oh wait, my high is coming down – I need another hit, and another to maintain this false level of courage and bravado.

I have crossed an invisible line from which there is no return. I’m hooked, a junkie.  I’m a crackhead – me – a crackhead.  I’m powerless and my life isn’t just unmanageable, my life is coming to an end if I don’t do something quick.

What can I do to save my life?

Well, stop doing drugs is a start of course, but what about dis-ease that caused me to do drugs in the first place?  The dis-ease that made me insane?

I had to open my heart to the possibility that a power greater than myself could restore me to sanity.  The power greater than myself that I call God, Life, Universal Presence, whose thoughts are higher than my thoughts, and whose ways are higher than my ways.  I came to believe that It could restore me to the truth of who I was before I became disconnected from my true identity – my Soul!  The definition for the word “restore,” is to bring back; reinstate; return (someone or something to a former condition, place or position.  It means to renew.

This is a powerful, powerful statement, because that means I wasn’t created out of fear.  I wasn’t created to be emotionally imbalanced and a total screw up, as most people suffering from addictions think they are.  I was created out of peace, balance, wholeness, love, harmony and all good, but I was conditioned by the environment I was born into to be fearful and insane.  Through reconnecting to my soul, I have been restored, reinstated and returned to my roots – wholeness.

How? By turning my will and life over to the care of God whose nature is love. By taking God out of the sky, the churches, and the rooms of AA, CA and all the other A’s; by taking my God out of the men in my life, out of the drugs and alcohol and Krispy cream donuts, and placing It back within my own heart – where it has been all the time.

Fear no longer runs my life.  I am restored.

Written by:

esternicholson_hs_square_hirestop (2)Ester Nicholson, renowned vocalist for Bette Midler and Rod Stewart, former addict, teacher, speaker and author uses her own astonishing story as the core of her powerful book: Soul Recovery – 12 Keys to Healing Addiction..and 12 Steps for the Rest of Us-A Path to Wholeness, Serenity and Success (Hay House/Agape Media).



This Recovering Alcoholic Has Work To Do

Ignoring problems is something I was a master of in my earlier years. Wether it was a pile of laundry on the floor I was avoiding, financial issue, negative body-image or my bad behaviour, this alcoholic could keep myself moving fast enough to overlook anything if I wanted to.

To my family and friends this often came off as being lazy and lying. Their experience with me wasn’t always wonderful, there were times when I hurt someone and simply said a quick apology and kept moving, often repeating the pattern because I was doing nothing to remedy the situation. Loving someone who is an alcoholic or addict is a difficult thing, you can see the person’s potential but have the perspective to be aware of the downward journey their lives are taking.

Removing the Weeds

This summer we’ve been dealing with a weed in our garden. I had noticed this weed beginning, it was a little vine called Creeping Charlie but at the time I first became aware of it I didn’t bother to research it or get rid of it. It was actually quite attractive and provided some ground cover in a shady bit of the yard so I overlooked it without much thought.

On I went, grooming my yard, moving my eyes away from the affected areas over to the prettier parts of my yard…planting and enjoying it.

Meanwhile that Creeping Charlie was working it’s tiny roots underground, wrapping itself slowly around the life source of all the other plants/grass in my yard. Just beneath the surface that weed which I was ignoring was killing everything in its path. I had no idea this was happening, somehow I didn’t notice the dust patches in the grass; I reasoned the death of plants was because I hadn’t watered enough…..until the day we realized everything had died.

creeping charlie

This pretty little vine had decimated my yard while I busied myself with other, my pleasurable activities.

This is how recovery from alcoholism works.

The Recovering Alcoholic Has Work To Do

Today my recovery from alcoholism is solid, today I’ve been granted a reprieve. This doesn’t mean that I’m cured….it simply means that I’ve cleared out all of the weeds from the garden of my life for today. This is actually a precarious situation.The same way the wee moved under the surface of my garden, my alcoholism is alive and well within me.

If I become complacent, over-confident or disconnected from my recovery those powerful vines will creep under the surface of my consciousness and begin taking over. This may not mean that I would pick up a bottle right away. This could begin with old behaviours and thoughts creeping in; selfishness, discontent, avoidance so many old behaviours which I refuse to accept in my life.

My garden recovery took loads of effort, between my husband and I we invested hours of sweat into sifting through every square inch of our garden to remove the weed’s root system. We then layer some healthy soil as a foundation for the new sod and perennials.


Over the next few weeks we will be watering and watching our beautiful new garden. Watching for the re-appearance of this weed is the key to ensuring it cannot ever take over again.




Each day I have to check myself, I can’t just roll along in life and ignore any weeds which may be taking root. This is an effort, perhaps different than physically digging up my yard but requires just as much focus and energy.

Vigilance is the key to the happiness and joy which life has to offer me. As long as I am willing to do the work, to hold onto my current perspective and sobriety for dear life I have the opportunity to flourish without those nasty weeds slowly killing me….

Are you clearing the weeds out of your life?

A Flip Of The Coin – A Story of Life In Sobriety

Sober doesn’t Suck! is a safe place for people to share their stories of being an alcoholic, addiction and recovery openly and honestly. There is no requirement of sobriety for posting, if you’re concerned about your using I want to hear from you too.Sober

I recently received the following article from one of my readers, Chris R.  I’m honored to share his words, hoping someone will find comfort and hope in them.

If you’d like to tell your story, your feelings about your own addiction or that of someone else in your life please head over to the Sober doesn’t Suck! page. Addiction affects the people around us, I’m interested in sharing all sides.


I was out running errands with a friend and my faithful companion Buddy. My “Honey Do” list consisted of picking up prescriptions, dropping off old dresses at a re-sale shop and swinging by our AA central office to pick up an anniversary coin for a friend so that we could celebrate his two years sober with a special Sunday dinner.

The dresses were dropped off pretty quickly and my next stop was central office because it was nearby and provided easy access to the highway to then pick up the prescriptions. Our AA central office is located on the first floor of an office building that I was pretty familiar with because my children’s pediatrician is located in the same building. The office itself is pretty much unmarked and if you didn’t know it was there it could be difficult to find…living up to the “Anonymous” part of the name I gather.

Unexpected Connection

I pulled up and parked along a side street leaving my friend and dog in the car as I would run in and quickly purchase the coin and we would be on our way. As I was walking towards the building I recognized a fellow I hadn’t seen in at least a few years. We had crossed paths at various meetings, spoken on occasion and perhaps I even gave him a few rides. From our conversation gathered that he struggled with his sobriety and had numerous attempts that hadn’t taken, but to his credit he kept coming back.

I called out to him at the corner in front of the building and he was a bit startled. He remembered my face but not my name. I remembered his name because he shares a name with one of my children and also he is one of those guys that I always liked and really hoped would make it. I could see a very gentle, yet troubled soul underneath his almost always black clothing.

We exchanged a handshake and pleasantries and he informed me that he is living out of state and is in town for the weekend visiting friends. I told him I was heading into the central office to pick up a coin for a friend celebrating his second anniversary of sobriety. He told me he too was visiting the central office, but couldn’t locate it (well played AA, well played!). He was marking seven months of sobriety and was hoping to replace the old coin he had in his pocket that was tarnished because when it was given to him he really hadn’t earned it as he was secretly using. He said it felt a bit strange that he was going to purchase his own coin, but felt it the best thing to do.

All We Have is Today

I was very happy for him and glad to see that he was back working a program, being sponsored and doing what was asked of him (which I can attest from my experience is the most difficult part of recovery). I told him that I could show him where the office was and would be honored to be the one to purchase and hand him his coin. He accepted and we entered the building, I made my purchases and was able to present him with his seven month coin and a hug.

Seven months, two years, ten years…the time doesn’t matter because all of us only have today. I am very grateful for this surprise encounter because it really made my day and provided me with gratitude for this program of Alcoholics Anonymous. I am grateful the doors were open to keep letting this fellow continue to seek sobriety. I pray that he is able to keep his sobriety today and bring his experience, strength and hope to others like he delivered it to me this afternoon.

As A Recovering Alcoholic I Can't Ignore My Emotions

This morning I got up and went to my 12 Step Program meeting. This hasn’t been happening enough lately, as a recovering alcoholic believe me when I say that my thinking can quickly go to the negative if I don’t keep in touch with my emotions and use the “tools” I’ve learned.

So there I was sitting in a meeting I didn’t really want to go to, it is Father’s Day after all and I had things to do! Well as usual it didn’t take God long to guide the meeting exactly where it would hurt me most. Right to the place I’d been ignoring for too long. Through the sharing of others in the room I realized that I’d been ignoring my emotions and running in auto-pilot for a while.

Ignoring Emotions Doesn’t Work

As a person recovering from alcoholism I can’t afford to allow myself to meander through life ignoring my emotions. This become complacency and could easily allow my confidence to build to the point of “just one drink”. It’s a fast, slippery slope which many folks have told me about and I just don’t need to take that path.

Today I was reminded that my thoughts control my emotions, that I must be in touch with my inner dialogue to ensure I am experiencing life the way God wants me to.

Having an expectation of joy, training your thoughts to be of gratitude somehow allows us to see the beauty around us amidst the chaos. Life isn’t what I’d like it to be, left to me I’d be living in a glorious home where nothing goes wrong, my friends are all within 500 feet and my gardens would grow magically.

Thankfully this fallible human is not the master archietect and the world simply isn’t this way. Imagine having the “perfect” world….there is no such thing. Reality is what is is. There is sadness, depression, pain, let-downs and we unfortunately have to exist within it all.

We can choose to alter our perspective.

We can choose to see the positive in our lives, of course I’m not belittling the challenges we all face in our lifetimes. How could I? When a person is losing their home due to financial troubles, when a person is grieving the loss of a loved one, when life just simply isn’t going well at all how can I suggest that “Looking on the bright side” would help?

In case this is your first time on my blog, I’m no stranger to fear or anxiety; I live each day battling the negative train of thought which is ingrained upon my character. I have some kind of natural reaction to difficult situations, to put it bluntly I don’t want to face any challenges and dammit I think I’ve earned that right.

Except I haven’t earned anything.

None of us have. Each of us fall victim to death, disease, disapointment, loss……we all have felt the sting of these in our lives, some more than others. I’ve learned to alter my thoughts, to ignore my instant reaction and focus on the positive in front of me to distract myself from slipping in to fear, worry and live with an attitude of gratefulness.

As a child I read a lot, I devoured any book you put in front of me. Somehow I ended up with a book in my hands which I can’t actually imagine myself having chosen. I must have been about 13 years old, already very involved in Track & Field and just beginning to hit that difficult “who am I” spot.

The book was a biography of Jesse Owens life. Jesse Owens is primarily known as the man who paved the way for African American athletes by winning 4 Gold medals at the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games. That’s not who Jesse Owens is for me. To me he’s the boy raised as a share croppers son and the grandson of slaves. He is the boy who lived in squalor, a boy whose childhood was littered with illnesses, the lad who had a tumour cut from his body by his mother because they were too poor to go go hospital….Jesse Owens was a boy who never gave up hope.

“The battles that count aren’t the ones for gold medals. The struggles within yourself—the invisible, inevitable battles inside all of us—that’s where it’s at.” – Jesse Owens

There in my childhood with this book in my little hands I learned a lesson, one that I return to often. I learned that there is always hope, even when i can’t feel it. At times in my life I’ve managed to forget this; well to ignore this would be more accurate.

In the dark times I’ve become wrapped up in the happenings rather than the possibilities.



Today I am not sure why I’m penning this except that I’m hoping to reach someone who is in need. I hope that you who needs this will see it. If all you can be thankful for today is that you have a pair of shoes on your feet that fit, please know I’ve been there and have passed through that valley to a place of hope by focusing upon that attitude of gratitude.

That is all.


This Alcoholic Isn't Counting Your Drinks

There are days when I wish I wasn’t open about my sobriety, days when I would prefer to have somewhat of a private recovery. There is beauty in the openness of my life in this respect but also plenty of discomfort because we’re all human.

When we humans are faced with something we can’t relate to we often look down our noses at it. Believe me; I’ve been guilty of it.

When I was drinking and encountered a person who chose not to have a drink with me, a part of me internally sneered at you. It’s ugly but true; I was the person who couldn’t have just one drink, let alone choose none and rather than try to understand you, I opted for judging you as the weaker human.

You must be the weak one. I couldn’t possibly have turned the proverbial mirror upon myself and taken a cold, hard look at myself. Instead for years I smiled indulgently as I prepared you a cup of tea or girly Mocktail while internally wishing you’d just have a bloody drink already!

I Was Busy Sweeping My Alcoholism Under The Rug

If you’re a mother most of us have had the oh-so pleasant experience of trying to enjoy a quiet bath while ignoring our children banging on the door at us. You lie there in the lovely steamy water, doing your best to enjoy this moment while the energy is being sucked out of you by your obnoxious (and quite normal) offspring.ID-10071695

That’s what my life was like when I was sweeping my alcoholism under the rug. Like a mouse on a wheel I struggled to ignore all of my concerns and dove into life as I’d become used to instead of facing the hard work of changing. All of my efforts at ignoring my issues made me irritated when you inadvertently reminded me of them.

It’s not that I didn’t like spending time with you non-drinking friends, it’s that you were the Trojan horse of my inner screaming toddler. You stimulated a wee part of me to ask myself why my relationship with alcohol was so messed up when all I wanted was to relax and have fun.

With the simple popping of the cork, the glug of the wine escaping the bottle into my glass, the aroma greeting my senses…..with these minute observations came relief. I was about to become my better self that accompanied the wine and there you were, reminding me that this behavior wasn’t normal.

This Alcoholic Isn’t Counting Your Drinks

These days I suspect that I am that Trojan horse for many folks I encounter.  I now have the pleasures of whispers, of people becoming outwardly awkward with the drink in their hand, of the almost apologetic nature of someone explaining this is their first drink, of the avoidance…

Somehow my presence can instigate certain people to begin questioning their own relationship with alcohol right at the moment when they’re enjoying their “free” time over bevies. I understand that you may feel I’m cramping your style but want you to know I’m not counting your drinks.

The fact is that it is what it is. I’ve chosen to be open about my alcoholism and for some people this means that I bring the reality with me where I go. I understand this and try to make people comfortable when I can, when that’s not possible I accept that it’s the other person’s baggage not my own.

Few Things Offend Me

These days I don’t offend easily, aside from people who enjoy openly challenging my “alcoholism” while insisting I have a drink, there are very few things which surprise or irritate me. I actually embrace the knowledge that I may be a red flag for some people and I hope that my behavior shows that sobriety doesn’t have to be impossible nor boring.

Perhaps this is a form of egoism but I’d hope that I’m stimulating enough sober for people to actually enjoy time spent with me and if they have questions about alcoholism that I’m approachable and transparent enough for them to ask.

For too long I avoided asking any questions, I turned my head from the frightening thought that I may be an alcoholic because my impression was this meant failure.

Within the past 1,171 days I’ve learned differently. I’ve learned that alcoholism isn’t failure, it’s simply a fact for me and within this reality there is strength and beauty to be found.

If I’m your Trojan horse then dammit let’s chat about it, why don’t we quiet that screaming toddler so we can begin to embrace all that life has to offer….