We Don’t Get Here By Accident


 

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“When I got here, my mind was like a pinball machine, but blurry.” pinball_machine_tilt_alphanumeric_display_tshir


Down The Scale


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“No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others.”  Alcoholics Anonymous The Promises


My Life With Drugs Rock n Roll and Addiction


http://www.cnn.com/2012/02/23/opinion/stromberg-addiction-struggle/index.html

From CNN Article: CNN OPINION

By Gary Stromberg, Special to CNN

Editor’s note: Gary Stromberg, who runs the PR firm The Blackbird Group, co-founded Gibson and Stromberg, a music public relations firm that operated in the 1960s and 1970s and represented The Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, Muhammad Ali, Barbra Streisand, Boyz II Men, Neil Diamond, Ray Charles, The Doors, Earth, Wind & Fire, Elton John, Three Dog Night and Crosby, Stills & Nash. He’s co-written several books that deal with addiction, including “The Harder They Fall.” His fourth book, “She’s Come Undone,” is due out this spring. He is active in service work to help people recover from addiction.

(CNN) — The Whitney Houston headlines last week sent a familiar shiver through me.

In the 1970s, I ran one of the leading entertainment business public relations firms. Celebrity clients were wildly indulging themselves, accountable to no one. It was money, power and prestige, with no one to say, “That’s enough.”

Drugs and alcohol were endemic. Today, the conversation revolves around prescription drugs, but back then we were into more basic mind-altering substances: pot, psychedelics, cocaine and heroin.

To be truthful, I had an amazing run before it all turned to garbage.

Gary Stromberg

Gary Stromberg

My office, on the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood, was set up like a huge living room with couches, overstuffed pillows on the floor, rock star posters lining the walls and a coffee table, the centerpiece of which was a large crystal bowl, filled at all times with a generous supply of cocaine.

The house rules were “help yourself if you’re here on business — but no take-outs!” We were regularly visited by our clients, including The Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, The Doors and Steppenwolf. As you could imagine, my office was a very popular place.

But 29 years ago, I stood at the precipice with a decision to make. With a career of impressive accomplishments in the rear-view mirror, I had what looked like only despair and death ahead of me. Alcoholism and drug addiction had rendered me into what the “Big Book” of Alcoholics Anonymous refers to as “pitiful and incomprehensible demoralization.” The choice seemed simple. Choose life or death.

Do I acknowledge I have a problem, or do I continue to live in denial?

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Do I listen to my friends and family, or do I seek my own counsel?

Do I continue to deteriorate mentally and physically, or do I say, “I’ve had enough?”

Do I choose to live, or do I want to die?

If I once had a dream, I thought, it was long ago shattered. If I once had a dream, it’s floating face down in a bottle of Jack Daniels. If I once had a dream … ahh, screw it, I ain’t no Martin Luther King Jr.

Throwing in the towel and surrendering to admitting I had a serious problem should have been the obvious thing to do, given the state I was in. But at the time, change seemed impossible, unimaginable, incomprehensible and downright insane. Insane was the right word, all right, but it described my state of mind.

Alcohol and drugs are subtle foes; cunning, baffling and powerful. I seemed to be the last one to know I was in big trouble. When my high-profile career started to fall apart, it was other people’s fault. When my substantial income dried up, my business manager was to blame. When the beautiful house I so dearly loved was finally foreclosed, it was the bank that was screwing me. When she finally couldn’t take it anymore and left, I knew she was the type to do this to me. When my friends began to disappear, they were scum and didn’t deserve me. And when, at last, my only friends, my drugs and alcohol turned on me, I knew it was over.

And so a journey of unimaginable proportions began.

Not to any outward destination. No rehab, no trip to a far-off spa. I didn’t move to another city, as if a geographic change would fix it. No, I didn’t have to travel anywhere, except into the mirror, and by peeling the onion of my soul. The journey was within, to at long last discover where the real problem resided.

It was, of course, in me.

What a surprise — with the loving help and support of a 12-step program, I found the real culprit. We in recovery refer to alcoholism as a spiritual sickness. And if you look that up in the dictionary, you’ll find a photo of me. “Mr. Spiritual Sickness of 1982.”

If you ask me nicely, I might show you a picture of that lost soul that I still carry around in my wallet. Yes, I had long hair and a beard, the smug look of false confidence on my face and even the obligatory turquoise jewelry of that era. But look more closely, and you’ll see in my eyes shallow pools of emptiness, pupils like pinholes from the daily consumption of narcotics. As a friend remarked when he saw the photo, “The lights are on, but nobody’s home.”

After you shake your head in disbelief,and look up at me again wondering how this was possible and how I became such a different person, I will offer you an explanation.

I’m a recovering drug addict and alcoholic who was spared from a life of misery, incarceration and death. I’ve been spared from the life of self-centeredness that led me to care very little about others and only about myself. I’ve been spared from the countless fears of inadequacy, failure, success, intimacy and anything else that threatened my well-guarded defenses. I’ve been spared a life of darkness and shown a path into the light.

We don’t yet know why Whitney died, but we know she struggled with addiction. It’s a pity that now, Whitney will not have the option I had.


Virtue v/s Circumstance


An addict will not change by virtue. Virtue did not get us sober. An addict gets to AA by circumstance, circumstance that ripped our lives to shreds. For most of us, AA was the last house on the block.

Given the gift of desperation, we come in the rooms of AA willing to do what ever it takes to change our lives. Many of us are surprised when we find out that we are to give up the drink forever and that we are not here to learn “how to drink.”

We become willing to find a Higher Power other than our selves.

Our best thinking got us into situations that kept us in slavery to the will of others, including jail, mental institutions, unhealthy situations and just plain juggernaut behavior that was defining our lives.

JUGGERNAUT

We know deep in our guts when we are holding on to some thing or some one that isn’t working. We feel such relief when we finally let go and get honest with ourselves.

The truth is we are imperfect humans and we make mistakes. No one said we have to do this perfectly. The only thing we have to do perfectly is, just not drink or drug.

Many of us have grown up confusing independence with self will.

Many of us chose the path of avoidance, wanting God to take care of all our problems for us, like when we are sleeping or while getting surgery under anesthesia and waking to the surgeon telling us, “You’re healed, we got it all.”

Half measures availed us nothing. We stand at the turning point with complete abandon.

A million miles away
Your signal in the distance
To whom it may concern
I think I lost my way
Getting good at starting over
Every time that I return

I’m learning to walk again
I believe I’ve waited long enough
Where do I begin?
I’m learning to talk again
Can’t you see I’ve waited long enough
Where do I begin?

Do you remember the days
We built these paper mountains
And sat and watched them burn
I think I found my place
Can’t you feel it growing stronger
Little conquerors

I’m learning to walk again
I believe I’ve waited long enough
Where do I begin?
I’m learning to talk again
I believe I’ve waited long enough
Where do I begin?

Now
For the very first time
Don’t you pay no mind
Set me free again
To keep alive a moment at a time
But still inside a whisper to a riot
To sacrifice but knowing to survive
The first to climb another state of mind
I’m on my knees, I’m praying for a sign
Forever, whenever
I never wanna die
I never wanna die
I never wanna die
I’m on my knees
I never wanna die
I’m dancing on my grave
I’m running through the fire
Forever, whenever
I never wanna die
I never wanna leave
I never say goodbye
Forever, whenever, forever, whenever

I’m learning to walk again
I believe I’ve waited long enough
Where do I begin?
I’m learning to talk again
Can’t you see I’ve waited long enough
Where do I begin?

I’m learning to walk again
I believe I’ve waited long enough
I’m learning to talk again
Can’t you see I’ve waited long enough


Give Up What You Love the Most


Step 6 Were  entirely  ready to have God remove all these defects of character.

Step 7 Humbly asked God to remove our shortcomings.

For further study, click below:

Drop The Rock A study of Steps 6 and 7

 When we first read the sixth step, we thought “This one is easy. Why hold on to our character defects?”

As we progressed in recovery, we realized this step was pivotal, and not as easy as we thought.

Denial is that part of us that really does not see that we are being dishonest.  We can make bizarre behavior make sense.  Some of our  “character defects” are so ingrained in our personalities that we believe them to be a necessary part of us.  Letting go of our need to change or control others is a difficult behavior to change when, we have very little, or no control over a situation.  Perhaps we developed dishonest behaviors to make order of our lives, or make difficult situations tolerable.

Shame is the belief that we are “broken”, or that something is wrong with us as human beings.  Shame is the core component of addiction.

Addiction is a violent disease that destroys addicts and those who love them.  Addiction tells us we are defective human beings that deserve pain and suffering.

Step 6 can give the suffering alcoholic a step towards relief.

Followed by the 7th step, true humility can be attained.


Getting Down to Basics


Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth.
Buddha

When we have problems we look to some thing outside of us to fix us. Everything we try, drugs alcohol, food, relationships, shopping, even therapy can’t fix us.

But

If we can get real and get honest with ourselves the truth will set us free. 

Denial is a strong prison.

Going to meetings saves us, but meetings can’t do it for us, if we are unwilling to be honest with ourselves.

Sometimes just keeping our selves in the seats at a meeting is enough to get through a day and stay sober,  but to really live the life our Higher Power wants for us, we need to get down to basic truth and face whatever it is we are concealing from ourselves.

The New Year coming up will give us opportunities for resolution. Chinese Year of The Dragon. Equal to St.Michael the Archangel, the Dragon leads the Chinese New Year Parades to ward off the evil energy.

Let’s go into 2012 with open eyes and take some action to change our lives for the better. The Planets are lining up and there is much magic ahead.

Above all, don’t lie to yourself. The man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to a point that he cannot distinguish the truth within him, or around him, and so loses all respect for himself and for others. And having no respect he ceases to love.”

Dostoevsky

SOCIAL DISTORTION
I WAS WRONG

Love and a Cough

“As it has been said:

Love and a cough
cannot be concealed.
Even a small cough.
Even a small love.”
 Anne Sexton


PARTY SOBER


Party Sober

From Anonymous Sober Driver Contributor

Last year I went to my first sober party ever, the week before Christmas.  It was really special, because I was doing chemotherapy at the time and I had no hair, no eyebrows, and no eyelashes.  I was in a brace because of an operation I had to remove a tumor.

My sober friends scooped me up and put me in the car and then took me to a meeting and asked if I wanted to go to a sober party.  Some people from meetings didn’t recognize me.

But nobody was phased.  They were all happy to see me and glad I was sober.

I love sobriety.

I went back to the same party tonight.  It was great to say “here I am” – “I’m still here, and here’s my hair”.

I’ve heard people say, “God did for me what I couldn’t do for myself.”

I’ve also heard some people say when they first got sober they didn’t know whether to brush their teeth or load the dishwasher.

At 14 months sober, I remember sitting on my couch in my living room next to my sponsor and deciding which oncologist to go to.  Just yesterday I thought about that and I got real still because I for the first time I realized the magnitude of what God doing for us what we can’t do for ourselves is.

I Walk Alone

I kept thinking, “it would be great to go to a movie, or a play, or the arboretum, or something fun.

Ho-hum

Bah-hum-bug.”

Well, here’s my new thing I’m doing – when I think, “I’d like to do this or do that.”  Then I promise myself I’m going to go, EVEN IF I HAVE TO GO ALONE.  I order the tickets online, or make dinner reservations.  Then I text five friends in recovery and ask if anyone would want to join me.  But I go no matter what.

NO MATTER WHAT

The worst thing that can happen is I go see a movie by myself then have five sober friends calling me back over the next 24-48 hours.

If I end up going alone, I get in the car, jam my music and go.  And I have to say doing something fun alone is one of the most empowering experiences ever!

The Best Christmas Present Ever

Calls, texts, emails, and letters from sponsees are the best Christmas present I’ve ever received next to the Lone Star Rodeo Barbie my Grandmother gave me when I was 7.

It got really dark for me the other day and I was thinking, “I just don’t think I can do this much longer.  What’s the use?  Are things really better?”.  I keep praying for a Power Greater than me to send me a letter in the mail.  Something that would fix the pain.

I stepped outside and had a postcard from a person, we’ll just call them the magic sponsee.

It had a list of four things the magic sponsee is praying for in my life.  We’ve been together so long, the magic sponsee knows what my four dreams are.

Thanks, HIgher Power!

Oh Boy! Oh Boy! Oh Boy!  The HOLIDAYS are here!  What will they be like this year?

Merry Christmas!

Happy HanukkaH!

Happy Kwanzaa!

Happy New Year!

This is the first day of the rest of your life and it’s going to be AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Have a beautiful day!

You are not alone!

Stay in the rooms!