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Adventures in Sobrietyland

Discussion in 'Freedom from Hell ~ Staying Clean~' started by Trigger, Nov 16, 2009.

  1. Trigger

    Trigger Well-Known Member


    so yea, i'm committing to this, i'm starting. my big thing was norcos for a long long time. it took weaning down and a million relapses, to finally realize my big thing really isn't opiates... it's everything. drinking, drugs, etc... and i know plenty of people that are able to drink and smoke pot casually, god bless 'em. i'm incapable of moderation.

    worst case scenario, i'm done with everything at 7pm, Wednesday. 24 hours before my first AA meeting on Thursday. these are bold words for a chick who's chewing on a bacon cheeseburger after downing beers with her friends for several hours. but still, i'm sick of being afraid to start. and beyond work, i have no plans tomorrow, so why even plan to drink or do drugs on a random tuesday? it doesn't make sense...

    i fully intend to get a sponsor and work the steps. i'm like "meh..." about the actual meetings. i'm just afraid i'll be forced to sit through a bunch of druggy war stories. i'm not just sick of drugs, i'm sick of the lifestyle.... every obsessive thing about drugs. which is also why i've had a bit of trouble starting this thread. seems like i should post a bit about my history.... problem is, i can't get the tone right. it all comes out like some gonzo journalism, and i sure as hell don't want to glamorize it. but at the same time, i'm not ashamed of a large portion of this experimental drug phase in my life. i'm sick of hating myself. it's been an awful year, and when i decided to get better was when i decided i couldn't stomach destroying myself. things are always in flux. you're either getting worse or getting better.... sorry dani, no pun intended.

    EDIT-- and this is a stupid name for a thread, i know. i'll explain it later...
  2. guinevere64

    guinevere64 Well-Known Member

    o yea, o yea, Trigger has started her own thread! <bowing>

    i'm kinda laughing because you sound so much like how i felt when i started my thread. i'd put posts out there and then think, sh!t, the tone sucks, it doesn't represent how i feel, it could be misread six different ways, how can i fix it... then i realized the thread wasn't about tone, it was about recovery... or re(dis)covery...

    when i could just let go and let experience come out of me, those were (are) the times i feel best about posting here... even when i get negative response. well-meant negative response can be helpful. it's also good to get validation, because i can't stay clean and sober without a community giving me a few head-pats.

    in other words (to use another name-pun), it's "all good"

    to share some experience: the meetings that focus on what/how/when we used (or drank) and how it made us feel are not the most helpful meetings. i try to find meetings that focus on how to live in the solution. for a while i went to a big book meeting, which was helpful. we have a women's 12 steps-12 traditions meeting that is also very good. "meetings for therapy" are not as helpful to me as "meetings for how to work the steps."

    and i look for a sponsor who is Free. if someone speaks and i can't remember what she said but i remember that she said it with a voice that is free, that's the woman i talk to. i don't mean free of confusion or difficulty--people who sound free of difficulty may be pretending. i look for the woman who is free of bondage to self and to substances.

    i'm real proud of you for doing this. i CAN'T WAIT to hear how today goes for you. very much looking forward to hearing about your history.

    much respect, your friend G

    p.s. this came in my inbox this morning. i thought of it when i read your post about committing to oneself... it's from melody beattie's THE LANGUAGE OF LETTING GO. i quite like melody beattie. she's totally mainstream self-help but she's also very smart and has been through a lot.


    As we walk through life, there are many things and people we may lose, or lose out on, if we are unwilling to commit. We need to make a commitment for relationships to grow beyond the dating stage, to have the home or apartment we want, the job we want, or the car we desire.

    We must commit, on deep levels, to careers - to goals - to family, friends, and recovery. Trying something will not enable us to succeed. Committing ourselves will. Yet, we need never commit before we are ready.

    Sometimes, our fear of commitment is telling us something. We may not want to commit to a particular relationship, purchase, or career. Other times, it is a matter of our fears working their way out. Wait, then. Wait until the issue becomes clear.

    Trust yourself. Ask your Higher Power to remove your fear of commitment. Ask God to remove your blocks to commitment. Ask God for guidance.

    We need to be able to commit, but we need never commit until we are ready.

    God, guide me in making my commitments. Give me the courage to make those that are right for me, the wisdom to not commit to that which does not feel right, and the patience to wait until I know.

    p.s. omg, i am so chuffed to be the first person to respond here. yay.
  3. Living Free

    Living Free Well-Known Member

    Wow, Trigger. Im beyond happy that you are here, in this forum, starting a thread - and an adventure in sobriety! Again, we parallel....as next Tuesday I will start my Alanon meetings. They are step meetings as well, and I have been over the steps for at least 6 months now. Id like to be taken thru them so, like you, I am looking forward to the experience. Ive been reading about Buddhism. Dont know if it interest you at all but the practice of Buddhism gives great peace in our lives. I relate and have exercised a lot of the practices already, so it may be something you may want to look into. The last post on Janice's (sluggo) thread explained it perfectly.

    In any event, you know I love you. I feel a special bond to you because of my timing with ODR had coincided with yours. your thread pulled me into the forum, and eventually to my own thread. I am glad you are experiencing this with Dani/Guen's threads, b/c you will forever feel a special place in your heart for these girls, as I do for you, as I hope you do for me!

    Ive seen you go thru a lot GF. You have not had it easy, then again, know that many of us didnt and can relate to a lot of the same feelings youve had from experiences in your life. You addressed about meetings and what to expect. Well, I have only gone to about a dozen beginners meetings and the last one was about "gratitude". They went around the room and asked to speak on what you were grateful for. There were hardly any battle stories, b/c in the meetings, well, I guess its a given that we've all been in battle in one way or another. But what was shared were experiences that were born thru recovery, that came out of ahes of the battles in addiction. The clarity, the gratitude, the love, the appreciation, the good perspectives all came from using the tools for dealing with life that are shared thru the program. I incorporate many things into my recovery journey, some only utilize one method. The bottom line is you have to find what works for you darling. And DO IT. It works when it keeps you free. Im praying for you. And love you very much.

    You Can Not Make The Most Of Tomorrow Without First Making The Most Of Today.

    HONESTY Doesnt Leave The Door Open For Interpretation.
  4. AumuA

    AumuA Well-Known Member

    LOL@ Thread title! "Adventures in Sobrietyland" I think it's a great title.
  5. Trigger

    Trigger Well-Known Member

    ^ haha. that's the perfect title. just what i was looking for 'cause the original was a little too bland. and it's because i want this process to be fun... i want it to be about discovery. just promise me it won't be boring, right? which is laughable, because at this point, the whole drinking/drug schedule has been done to death... so even sitting in a closet in fetal position would be an exciting alternative.

    that's cool! i look forward to hearing more about your experiences. i'm very interested in Buddhism, but i'm not sure where to start learning. are you directly applying Buddhism as a spiritual model for the steps, or are they separate? are you seeking a Buddhist sponsor?

    hmmm... maybe i should seek a sponsor with similar spiritual beliefs, but mine are so undefined. i was laughing at myself yesterday, because i can't get past the paternal, masculine image of god. as a teenager, i thought this Matisse painting on my Henry Miller paperback was an image of 'god.'


    lol... sexy, huh?

    likewise liny, definitely. much love and respect. i remember sitting outside the downtown LA library on my lunch break, just praying that you felt ok. i was really moved by a post of your's that i had read that morning. and i watched you get better as i got worse. and no matter how many times i relapsed and disappeared, you encouraged me to come back. you wrote-- "just think about all the people out there that we can help!" and i'm not even sure if i responded to that pm... i was probably relapsing somewhere on a park bench. ahhhh...

    speaking of disappearing, guin-- that commitment post of your's is spot on. i've bailed on jobs, relationships, family. i bailed on the entire east coast when my dark side became too much... and laughed about escaping jail and rehab. and it's funny that i use the romantic term 'escapism.' some people would just call me a quitter.

    but i've promised myself that i'll see this step thing through without question. i'm just so happy for the structure... it's like a map out. no bailing.


    just mentioning norcos (and booze) is sugar coating it. i've (recently) been able to avoid physical addiction to opiates, but that's because i'm using nearly everything else on a somewhat daily basis. and even still, there have been a few opiate indiscretions. i mean, the last time i shot up heroin was halloween...'09. and i hate to check dates, but i was probably posting over here at that time. one of the many times i show up at odr to get better, only just to disappear and get worse again.

    i've built fences recently to cut off my access to H. so no more, but i hold that last night up like a horrible snapshot. i mean, i basically spent the night skateboarding and shoplifting. and i was gliding down the sidewalk with a bottle of wine in my fist, and some cholo jumped out and grabbed it. i was knocked off my board and into a brick wall, but of course, i felt no pain
  6. gettingbetter

    gettingbetter Well-Known Member


    I've been in work hell the past two days and wanted to wait to write you a thoughtful response. I don't see the time for that in the near future though so screw it, it's not important. What is important is that you did this, and I'm psyched for you, and I'm grateful you're on a journey, and excited to see how things turn out.

    much love, I'll check in later
  7. Living Free

    Living Free Well-Known Member

    Tho I am new at understanding the principals of Buddhism, I can tell you that it IS a way of life, whether you do the AA steps, or not.

    I wrote the following to Tub/SS and it is my view where I am today with my thoughts on what the steps can offer. However, not going thru them personally, I dont have any EXPERIENCE with them. Obviously, G/Dani/Janice can talk to the actual experience as will Arlene when you guys meet (when will that be???):

    Wow Tub..just, wow.

    Thank you for brinking up Kabbalah and yoga. I practice Kabbalah methods, I read Tolle and other spiritual books. Janice recently suggested some great Thich Nhat Hanh books that I am currently enjoying. I meditate when I can, I do yoga for my back/mind to try to find peace in my life today. I have gone thru many previous years of CBT and I go to therapy today.

    Tho I dont consider myself an AA-er, per se, in the course of my year and a half of clean time I have been to meetings. I see the hope in peoples eyes there, and the freedom. I get the appeal. I get it.

    Recently I asked Janice for the 4th step info and I was amazed at how indepth that step gets into your core personality. It addresses all the things that hold us back, the resentments and fears we have, and it addresses the accountability we need to be better people in this world. I was blown away.

    So if I wrap up my Kabbalistic ideals, spirituality, my paying my therapist to basically work thru the same things that the 4th step addresses, and I substitute the support I get in 3D thru friends and shrinks and forums addressing addiction/my past - well I find a similar infrastructure within the step programs and sponsorship. See what I mean, same stuff, different means of recovering from drug addiction. See the similarities? Not the differences...

    I get that many folks may not like religious based organizations, and that's fine. Yes, the program addresses a HP. When I was in IOP in 08, the 12 steps were right there hanging on the wall. Some folks are incensed by that. Well then hell, let someone create a "different", free program that addresses addiction, therapy, spirituality, and support all in one program. If it can get a following and recognition, great! In the meantime, it BE whut it BE.

    I do wish more normal folks knew about step work, but I gather as I said before, the shrinks have their hands full. And normies dont need "support" to stay away from something that would kill them - and its a lot of work to soul search. So, I guess its not on the priority list for many normies. Their loss, really.

    For folks that can
  8. Trigger

    Trigger Well-Known Member

    Tolle, as in Eckhart Tolle? he's been heavily recommended by a friend of mine out here.

    i'm very interested in Kaballah as well. it's big out here, and i watched the practice (study?) bring peace to a friend of mine. i don't mind adopting a mixture of beliefs, i just don't think a passive belief in something greater than myself is cutting it anymore.

    you and Tubal debating? haha he's one of my favorite atheist junkies. a brilliant mind and very well traveled. he took a 'geography cure' for years in Thailand and told me about these Buddhist temples that take in junkies and detox them for free. it involves physical purging, group meditation and community service in exchange for a 30 day detox, room and board. definitely considered it, but it's controversial because the monks are allowed to beat the travelers with canes. so let me guess-- Tubal said that constant meditation leads to complete lack of desire?

    and i find it odd that i fell in with the non-spiritual junkie camp during my early days on the boards. it was helpful to put all the physical aspects of detox into scientific terms. and the men in that camp were great for slapping the sh*t out of me for being emotional. i learned to never buy into anxiety, that my heart was pounding out of my chest because opiates slow the heartbeat and i was just going through a physical adjustment. it helps.

    but the negativity directed towards the Steps is unwarranted. AA is severely misunderstood. when Dani and Tom told me it was 'experiential' and everyone's journey is different, something clicked for me. when people revert to mere steppism without the practical life application, well that's when 'conformity' and 'cult' comes up. problem is, in order to convey all that, one has to be a talented writer that bares their soul and that's hard to do online. it's so easy to get shot down. (grrrr... SS)

    and also-- it's hard to tell a detoxing junkie to pray for his cravings to be removed. after years of drug use one is severely disconnected from any HP. prayer seems silly and contrived because one is wracked with guilt and shame... and most of us are reverting to a childhood model when it comes to religion. i really had to paddle the lifeboat away from the shipwreck to have any sort of perspective on these Steps. just saying that it takes time...

    i'm assuming that you guys in AA pray for cravings to be removed?

    because i'm facing a lot of mental triggers dealing with my social life and i'm not sure that prayer will cut it until i start the actual work with a sponsor. i might apply some of the checklists from SMART that deal with triggers and attribute cravings to the animal/reptile brain.

    tomorrow! i'm really excited. she's way west, but if Dani can drive 2 hours to her meetings, i suppose i can drive to the west side.

    and Arlene told me that the only requirement was the desire to quit using. i adopted the 24 hours sober thing. she just said-- 'don't show up loaded.' and 'don't get a DUI between now and then.' so i've been freaking out about getting a DUI all week.

    and this first meeting is all women with 2 speakers, so i'm not going to speak, just observe. and i'm not going to put all of this in Arlene's lap. i'm hunting for a friday night meeting. i need to structure this weekend so i don't end up using.

    no worries, Dani! my roommate was watching "Half Nelson" last night and i was thinking of you :)
  9. Guitar Playin Fool

    Guitar Playin Fool Well-Known Member

    Glad to see your taking proactive steps to improve your life, best of luck and may you find what you need. Remember take what you need leave the rest at the door. Peace

    It rips my life away, but its a great escape.
  10. sam bailey

    sam bailey Well-Known Member

    Hey Trigger,

    You write,
    I get it. I really do. You want, with your whole soul, your entire spirit, to draw the right picture. No. You want to create the perfect picture, the perfect image of your life, from first-grade pig-tails, to high school prom dances to, several years later, jabbing that g.d. needle in your arm.

    And you want us to see it, to really 'n truly see it. You want us to see what you experienced. To see it so clearly that we can nearly feel it, that we can almost taste it.

    Because that's what art is, right? The as-accurate-as-possible representation of a life's story, with everything included, with nothing left out. It is this: the life of Trigger, and when you miss that perfect image, or that perfect metaphor, or that perfect word, you feel failure.

    So you don't start. We don't even begin. Or we begin again and again and again, and when the magic isn't just snapped out of the miracle-ether, we stash our "failures" into our desk drawers.

    The curse of the artist? Yes, I believe so. Not always, though more than sometimes. Perhaps more accurately, one can say that it's the curse of the beginning, no---the curse of the less than confident artist. Whether brilliant...or not brilliant.

    Yet, young friend, your story, here on ODR, is not your art (though is can certainly be art). It is not your novel, not even your short story...and not your painting masterpiece, either---though I fail to understand the dynamic of the painter's suffrage, since I have no talent, whatsoever, in that world. Apologies to all those artists.

    My point is this: Trigger? You are a fine and good and wonderfully talented writer, confidence level notwithstanding.

    My opinion? Go Joycean on us. Tell us your tale, as it occurs to you, as it pours from you---and once started, it will, I promise, pour. Do this, one, two, three posts at a time and your history WILL come out...and, I strongly suspect, it will come out, in parts anyway, in the proper tone...and, sometimes, in a very clear, very moving and, above all, very real, and poetic, tone.

    Also, I urge you to not show off, nor even try to show off. That's the stuff of hacks. BTW, I don't see you doing this. Just sayin'.


    Finally, though---you must always remember this: some of your posts will be...nothing but a bunch-of-words. Word whittling. They do not all have to be moving, nor should they be.

    Yet, when the magic is there, and there will be days when it will be, when those days come and you're sitting on your bed, watching the light slant perfectly through your window, some breeze ruffling your curtains, that's when you listen to what the wind says.

    Listen closely. And then, hell---tell us.

    Something like that.

    Good job on beginning a thread, Ms. Trigger.



    sam bailey
  11. gettingbetter

    gettingbetter Well-Known Member

    I think of Half Nelson CONSTANTLY now that I'm teaching 8th grade social studies. American History is fascinating and I get really worked up teaching it.

    The bolded words you wrote NAILED why I kept a thread. You're articulate, Trig. Damn. When I started working steps, I kept thinking, 'wow, is THIS what it is? it's an individual process that's relevant to my life? it isn't the faux opiate of the addicted masses?' and I wanted to keep a journal.

    it's such a pathetic lame-ass waste of time, isn't it? I so hear you on that. that's EXACTLY what drove me to the point you're at now. And I have to tell you: the confidence is one of the best side effects of this for me.

    You don't have to doubt your actions and intent if you're always doing the next right thing.

    Trig, forgive me, I want to post more but my brain is fried after reading so many essays.

    Idea for a thread title should you ever want to change it, and if you don't want it I'm stealing it: Gonzo Recovery.

    I'm in parent conference hell for hours tomorrow night and Friday but I'm checking in on you. This is so exciting. I feel like I'm watching a movie of your life unfolding. Good stuff!

    PS -- i always like (and even LOVE) the students the other teachers have issues with. for some odd reason.
  12. Guitar Playin Fool

    Guitar Playin Fool Well-Known Member

    WOW what sam said above me! Trig, I'm SURE you can relate to that!

    It rips my life away, but its a great escape.
  13. guinevere64

    guinevere64 Well-Known Member

    ha! good one.

    So... Trigger... did you stop this evening at 7? Hope so.

    my second sponsor (i've learned things from all my sponsors) gave me a great piece of advice: never leave a meeting in early sobriety without knowing when and where your next meeting will be. helped me put my life first.

    i had lots of the same questions, except i never tried SMART. however, i had 10 years of alanon behind me, so i'd heard quite a number of alcoholics and drug addicts speak at open meetings, and i had seen with my own eyes that the steps could work.

    the steps are experiential. you don't have to have a sponsor to start working the first step. you've been working it for the past several weeks (at least). step 1 is about willingness to participate. i hear you becoming willing.

    leaving prayer out of it for the moment... my experience has been that cravings can't co-exist with my taking Right Action. obsessions usually descend on me when i'm stuck in some kind of dangerous or habitual feeling ("i feel like a bad mother/a lousy wife/a sh!tty writer/a crappy artist/a negligent gardener/a truly sad-ass housekeeper", etc.; or worse, a chronic failure at life, a non-starter). This is why the steps are progressive, are in order, and can be done over and over.

    at my meeting on progress-not-perfection yesterday, i looked up "progress" and "perfection" in my iPod's dictionary (fabulous app btw). "progress" of course means "moving toward." "perfection," it turns out, has tons of connotations but its Latin root is "to finish," or essentially to stop (permanently) at a destination. it's helpful for me to link perfection with stuckness.

    you sound great. much love --G
  14. peacenik

    peacenik Administrator

    Wow does that ring a bell, I never heard it put that way and that's the way I ran my first year.

    And Trigger, I didn't pray for the cravings to go away. This is just me of course, but I made myself busy getting to the next meeting, reading the next chapter, or writing something about the first step. Someone told me once that it was impossible to think of two things at the same time so I substituted all these new thoughts and actions and just hoped, hoped that I would make it. It worked.

    I love the spiritual side of the ladies here and I learn a lot and feel quite humble at their progress in early recovery, but I can also point out that there is a very "nuts and bolts" component to this - the putting of one foot in front of the other.

    IMO we've just got to get clean any way we can and then go about the process using whatever it takes. The cravings just made me more willing to immerse myself in recovery.

  15. Allgood

    Allgood Well-Known Member

    FOR YOU Dave. FOR ME, the nuts and bolts just weren't enough ....tried it for years. I came to a point where I realized I NEEDED to seek a spiritual solution, or else my emotional/spiritual and physical death was right around the corner.

    Some can get it by putting one foot in front of the other. Lots cannot. I think it's important that we not generalize our own experience. It's painful to watch people die as a result .......

    Much love and peace
  16. Trigger

    Trigger Well-Known Member

    thanks guys! so much great advice here. i need to start a notebook with all these great tips and write down all the questions i have for Ar.

    and i was thinking that i'm getting ahead of myself with the prayer, because this early part might just be about desperately staying clean. and it might be very nuts and bolts... but at the same time, i've been very worried about the lack of structure in my life, and obviously scheduling meetings so i won't use. but then some odd things happened. my new client ordered more projects for xmas. challenging, creative work has always kept me sane. it's great for my self esteem right now, anyway.

    and more importantly--

    my father called me out of the blue yesterday. at first i thought he was finally confronting me about all the pain pills i stole from him. last year when he found out about my pill popping, he was pissed. he ordered my doctor not to prescribe narcotics even though i had a freshly broken rib. grrrr... we fought. more on this later. but basically, i haven't been speaking to anyone in my family. typically, i'll hear from one of my parents every two weeks. the phone call will last 5 minutes and it's basically to make sure i'm still breathing and not dead inside a hollywood dumpster.

    well, my dad called to say he'll be in town this weekend specifically to see me! he said that he misses me, and wants to see what my life is like. and he lives on the other side of the continent and hates LA! lol, both my parents are far too preppy to visit me here in Flip Flop USA. but he's coming... and i want so badly to tell him about everything. i'm sure 3 days clean and 2 AA meetings are NOT going to impress him. i just hope i have the maturity to communicate without anger. and yay! his presence will keep me from being tempted to use. not sure if we're ready for the full amends, but it's a big one coming up.

    so you see, with all these great things happening and everyone being so supportive here online... well, maybe i'm being romantic, but i can't help thinking that everything is connected. that things happen for a reason and i don't have to live in darkness. i'm already starting to believe in the process and more importantly, believe in myself. i've been so cynical for so long. but you know what they say-- "inside every cynic lies the heart of a bruised idealist."


    awesome that you relate to this movie! was so moved watching it other night. had a whole post about this, but i'm furiously condensing it.

    i've just always hated the cliche that a junkie is apathetic and turned off to the world. the protagonist in "Half Nelson" is totally committed to his students and job. so passionate about his work and so charismatic inside the classroom that it's like he has to do drugs... that he's so disillusioned about what he can't do.

    and i've always felt the same way about my career. that whatever talent i had was because of my passion for the work. and the drugs were there to keep me from burning up. to make better the inevitable failures, but also, light up my brain in all these different ways so that everything was about discovery... but i guess that was the honeymoon.

    and when the drugs stopped working i was forced to take a high paying corporate design gig so i could afford to upregulate. and i was a sweaty, pale faced mess, always zoning out and wandering around with my headphones on. i kept wishing that airplanes would slam into that skyscraper. i don't even own the bland wardrobe that it takes to keep a job like that. 2 hour lunches, a million late mornings, missed deadlines because i was trying to make every project into something that i could be proud of. my ahole boss kept calling me 'Ms. Picasso'... and after a tense conversation about insub
  17. teach07

    teach07 Well-Known Member

    Trigger....I really like what you said about not having to live in the dark anymore....that is a very simple but powerful way of describing recovery....enjoy your firt meeting....listen carefully...sometimes when we least expect it....someone we really dont think we are even remotely similar to....will say something thast really hits home....remember....IDENTIFY IN not OUT.....

    Much Love.... Carol ( the OTHER teacher:D)

    Anything worth having is worth working for!
  18. peacenik

    peacenik Administrator

    Of my sharing? Gee, I guess maybe I should check with you before I post ;)

  19. gettingbetter

    gettingbetter Well-Known Member

    Oh my god, your avatar ROCKS, I LOVE the illustrations in that version of Fear and Loathing.

    Do tell. How did yesterday go?

    EDIT: more later. I have a lot of things to say about Half Nelson, as you might imagine, that might help.
  20. guinevere64

    guinevere64 Well-Known Member

    Girl. How goes it?

    Note: check out the post about a book review you might be interested in, in the "ODR Book Forum" under the "General" forum.

    looking forward to hearing from you... --G

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