Category Archives: Prayer

Recovery and Relapse

I’ve been thinking of writing about relapse and since yesterday’s post stirred up some relapse discussion, I figured I would tell you my relapse story. I wasn’t a chronic relapser so I can’t tell you what that’s like. I never meant to judge anyone’s recovery experience, so I apologize if it came across that way. I forget sometimes that not everyone sees recovery the way I do, and not everyone recovers with a 12 step program. We are all different and have different journeys and I forget that. I can only share with you my experience, so that’s what I’ll do today ūüôā Hold on to your hats, this might be a long one.

In March I told you about my first meeting ever. Well it took me a few weeks to get clean after my first meeting. It took me until March 31, 2007 to be exact. That was my first clean date (sobriety date for all the AAers)! By that time I had a sponsor and was trying to get to meetings everyday. My last hoorah was late on the night March 30th and after that¬†I never looked back…

Until I looked back. I relapsed on my 99th day¬†clean¬†while I was working in NYC in July 2007,¬†Luckily for me, I didn’t relapse on that stuff. I relapsed with alcohol.¬†But – if you aren’t aware: ALCOHOL IS A DRUG.¬†Ha, ok, just wanted to be clear.¬†The night I relapsed – I gave in to my disease.

Scratch that, I didn’t give in to my disease. I didn’t slip. I didn’t hit a bump in the road. I didn’t have a lapse in judgment. I didn’t fall off the wagon. I drank. I knew exactly what I was doing. I woke up that morning and decided that I didn’t want to be clean anymore because I thought “21 year olds should be able to drink if they want to.”¬†I got up and went about my day. I even went to an NA¬†meeting out of¬†pure habit.¬†I even called my sponsor (at the time)¬†to tell her that I was going to drink. That was one of her rules:¬†I could always reserve the right to use but I had to call her first. When she told me that on the first day of our¬†sponsor-sponsee relationship, I thought that it was ridiculous because if I called her first, I probably would end up not using. She laughed. That was the whole point!¬†Luckily she was in California on a trip and I got to leave her a voicemail. Loophole much?

I¬†went to meet up with¬†Leo at his friend’s UWS apartment. Earlier that week I’d given Leo a pretty compelling argument as to why I was allowed to drink again. Manipulation at it’s finest. Never let an addict/alcoholic tell you they can drink again safely. Always call them on their bullsh*t.¬†So when Leo’s friend offered me a beer I said yes. I had already made up my mind. But when he brought me the beer, I brought it to my lips and my whole body was telling me not to do it. I did it anyway. I drank fast and furiously. Leo told me to slow down but I didn’t want to. I wanted to prove to myself that I could drink a lot and still be OK.

I was not OK.¬† Three hours later, I was 8 drinks in (I was about 105 lbs that summer, so imagine) and I kept going. I didn’t feel drunk, but I definitely was. I didn’t eat dinner that night and hadn’t had a drop of alcohol in over three months. Years later Leo told me that he started feeding me non-alcoholic drinks when I was demanding more booze. I was too drunk to notice. We got food and he put me in the cab and we had to get out three blocks before his apartment because I thought I was going to puke. I did. On the side of W 66th street. So classy.

I called my sponsor crying the next morning and she told me to call all my friends in recovery and talk about what happened and then get myself to a meeting. I did what she told me and I went to a Sunday night NA meeting in the East 20s. When I found out it was a 90 Day Speaker Panel I started crying. Anyone who had acheived 90 days clean that month could get up and qualify. I’d never qualified before and I¬†had been¬†waiting to.¬†I went from 99 to zero with one decision. One bad decision.

It took me a few more weeks of on-and-off drinking to realize that I just couldn’t live like that anymore. I was miserable and I was hitting up relapsing addicts for their dealer connection, although thank god I was never successful. My life was going from bad to worse. But the last night I drank I had maybe four drinks. I wasn’t drunk, I didn’t throw up, there was no hangover. A few days later I had dinner with my first NA friend in NYC¬†when she got back from her honeymoon. She didn’t know I’d been relapsing. She suggested we go to a meeting the next night to see if anything resonated with me, to remind me why I wanted to get clean in the first place. She was right. That next night we went to a Young People’s NA meeting in the East Village (2nd and 2nd) and the girl who qualified basically told my story. It was the first time I’d ever heard “my story” told by someone else. We were practically the same person. I haven’t used/drank since hearing her story. My official clean date is a few days before that meeting

Going to that meeting showed my¬†willingness to change, to take a leap of faith. I was willing to hear something, although not convinced I would. I didn’t go to meetings when I was relapsing because I thought¬†didn’t truly want to be clean. I realize now that even an ounce of desire to get clean means you should go to a meeting. You never know what you might hear. My relapsing phase ended because I was willing to let people into my life, willing to listen, willing to call my sponsor, willing to go to meetings. And even with my of willingness, it was the program that¬†got me clean. I definitely didn’t do it alone. I could never will myself sober. I had to be open to the possibility I could stay sober and I had to work very hard to stay that way. To stay away from drugs and alcohol one day at a time is something most people are never able to do. It was incredibly hard in the beginning, has gotten easier with time, but can still be a daily struggle.

If I pick up a drink or a drug tomorrow, it will be my choice, the same choice that I make not to drink or use today. I hope I continue to choose the right way for myself and I thank my higher power and my friends for helping me choose a better life every single day.

That girl who told my story, who gave me the hope to get clean again…I saw her at my home group about a year ago. She had a few weeks back in the program after being out for a while. It turns out she had been relapsing for a while. It felt odd to have more time clean than the woman who helped save my life. It just goes to show: no matter how much time you have or how many times you start over, you never know how much you can help someone else just by being clean for one day.

Do you have experience with relapse?

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Life on Life’s Terms

SATC Life on Life’s Terms Update:

Relapsing addicts make me sad. I saw a friend/neighbor last night on my block who has been chronically relapsing for a long time now. I really hope he gets this thing soon. For me, it is an issue of willingness when someone doesn’t stay sober. You have to want it, you have to work for it, you have to be willing to go to any lengths. It’s not an issue of can vs. can’t. Everyone can get better¬†if they are willing to, one day at a time. He knows that. He just has to want it. I will keep praying.

My¬†one day old niece is 100% healthy and beautiful. I can’t wait to meet her on Saturday! Unsure of the baby anonymity at the moment, so pictures TBD.

Raw food diet¬†is getting easier. For those of you who don’t know, I’m trying to go raw to detox my body to see if that helps with my chronic horrendous¬†headaches. I had a raw organic vegan “soup” today from Organic Avenue via Norma Kamali. The soup itself was really good and much easier than eating a salad with no dressing. It was really filling though, so I left about a fourth of it in the fridge for later.¬†Sorry I couldn’t turn this picture upright for some reason!

The only downside is when I turned the label over it said about 35 grams of fat. YIKES! But it’s the fat I don’t get from anything else I eat with this diet, so I suppose that isn’t awful for a days worth of fat. Only 350 calories. I also picked up a raw snack: Date Almonds Cherries Orange Zest via BluePrintCleanse. I have yet to try it.

Who knew I could get these delicious raw vegan snacks/meals/juices in my neighborhood? So thank you Caron for the awesome tip! I will be returning tomorrow to get some green juices!

Acupuncture last night was fantastic. I felt quite amazing during/after the treatment and H said it was working since I wasn’t as nervous and crazy as I was last week! Thank you, insurance company, for paying for all this. At the end of the session I got more tips on eating and combining food:

Tip #1 Pray before eating it makes the food less acidic. Mmmmm…I have forgotten to do this until now, but I will try it with the next thing I eat!

Tip #2 Never drink and eat at the same time. Check.

What’s new in your life today?

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Filed under Food, Headache, healthy Living, Prayer, Recovery, Service

Easter!

 Overheard in NYC:

Little girl to babysitter: If there’s one person I would want to eat in this whole world it would be Santa Claus. I bet he tastes like mint… and candy. Or maybe the Easter bunny. He probably tastes like prizes.

–72nd St & 3rd

Hey kids! This coming Sunday is Easter – you know that holiday with colored eggs and candy in baskets and people dressed up as bunny suits? Oh shoot! You thought the Easter Bunny was real? My sincere apologies for ruining your childhood. I still remember the day I found a drawing I’d left for the Easter bunny in a drawer in our kitchen two weeks after the big day. I was six years old and pretty upset and I never told my mom about it.

You know what I find interesting about Easter? It marks the Christian celebration of the day Jesus rose from the dead. How the heck does that equate to hiding eggs all over your yard and eating chocolate bunnies and marshmallow peeps?¬†Easter is actually the name of a pagan goddess and eggs are the pagan symbol of rebirth. The traditions started a long time ago in Europe somewhere, but¬†they simply have nothing to do with a dead 33 year old man mysteriously disappearing out of a tomb blocked by a huge boulder.¬†Just a few of the¬† many reasons why I think¬†there is something a tad off with organized religion…

Woah – sorry to get so political on you there.¬†I don’t want to get¬†controversial, but after playing a scholar of western religion on¬†TV when I was in college – my youth group days were over.¬†I grew up in the Church but through all my personal trials, tribulations and formal studies, I can honestly say I don’t believe in it anymore. My¬†parents are what Leo deems Super Christians. Leo apparently has never met a televangelist in person…or heard people talk in tongues. Thanks Mom and Dad for being regular Christians and still scaring the boyfriend ūüôā

Source

Although I wouldn’t consider myself Christian today I am certainly not an atheist. I have a relationship with my Higher Power (via the 12 steps)¬†and not with the Christan God. Whether or not the Christian God exists is really irrelevant for me. Luckily for me, AA and NA are spiritual programs, not religious ones. My number one pet peeve is when someone closes a meeting with The Lord’s Prayer. Um, that would be an inherently Christian prayer and in no way represents a non-religious spirital bond with HP.

STOP SAYING THAT PRAYER, IT IS RELIGIOUS!

Ok, just had to get that off my chest. I realize that the 12 steps are very much rooted in Christianity as the founder of AA, Bill W., was a Christian, but this ain’t the 1950’s anymore and AA is not in any way whatsoever affiliated with the Church. You don’t have to find God to get sober or to be a member of AA. You just have to be open to the possibility that there is something out there more powerful than yourself that cares about you and is helping to keep you sober.

Now, that is not to say I don’t like baking gingerbread cookies, decorating pine trees in my parents’ living room, leaving said cookies on the fireplace for a large fat man in a red suit to retrieve them, dying hard-boiled eggs pastel colors and putting stickers all over them and microwaving peeps until they explode, but please, I can’t in good conscience¬†associate these things with any sort of religiosity. To me, these traditions are familial in nature and represent the fun I’ve had with my family since I was born and I will continue to enjoy them!

Source

Big plans for Easter?

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Filed under Food, Fun, Prayer, Recovery

Prayer

ÔĽŅÔĽŅÔĽŅÔĽŅ”Whose prayer am I the answer to today?”

Yeah right, only in my dreams…

Ok back to the relatively-serious post:

A friend mentioned this to me earlier this week. Apparently her mother’s friend¬†wakes up everyday and says this to himself: “Whose prayer am I the answer to today?” And then he uses this to guide his day of being useful to others. Isn’t that cool?

I am not one who is big on prayer or God in general. I do believe in HP and I do pray, but it’s not the first thing I think about in the morning. And prayer isn’t the¬†first thing I try when I’m in pain.¬†In full honest disclosure: I try everything else before I pray. I usually pray in my head too. The first time I ever prayed out loud I was sitting on my bathroom floor screaming at HP to make my life stop sucking (to summarize of course). And really – just the act of screaming helped rid of some of the anger inside me. I used to pray on the subway to work¬† every morning, asking God¬†to help me tolerate annoying commuters. Lately, I really only pray when I remember to or when I have an awful resentment brewing that I want to get rid of. It always makes me feel better.

As addicts and alcoholics we spend most of our “prayer time” asking for what God/HP can do for us or for others, and not what we can do for others.

God, take my will and my life, guide me in my recovery, show me how to live.

God, grant me the serenity, to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.

God, please help me to be willing to do my stepwork.

God, please help me not be a b*tch at work today, please.

God, please, just please, can I get that job? win the lottery? maybe throw in a diamond ring too? kthanks.

The truth is¬†– we can’t ask God for material things, it just doesn’t work like that. We can ask for things like guidance, willingness, serenity, acceptance, courage, and wisdom. Still, we are always asking¬†for HP to answer these prayers. I’ve never thought that¬†I could be the answer to someone else’s prayer! But I suppose we all have the potential to be the answer.

In fact, I have proof! In September 2009 my personal life was in shambles and I was terrified of being alone. Someone was the answer to my prayers:¬†¬†Porscha (yes, she picked out her own pseudonym!). She started a women’s meeting in her apartment on Tuesday nights: The Maiden Voyage. Because she started that meeting I met (and continue to meet) the most amazing group of women. These women are now my closest friends and the answers to my prayers every day, even if I’m not praying. And almost 18 months later, the meeting still takes place!¬† Not only is Porscha my inspiration for this blog (she taught me that sobriety shouldn’t be anything less than FUN), she gave me life by starting that meeting.

Helping others is such a core part of recovery. That’s why there are sponsees, newcomers, meetings to chair, coffee to make and phone numbers to give out. How many years did you spend locked up in your own self-centeredness?¬†Part of recovering means being of service!

***I am sending out special¬†thoughts (and prayers of course)¬†in honor of the¬†wonderful Lady E, an amazing woman from¬†Sunday night’s¬†Clean and Dry meeting. She passed away this past Sunday while recovering from¬†a heart attack. She had over 47 years of sobriety, probably the longest length of sobriety in a person I’ve ever had¬†the privilege to know. Every Sunday night she came to C&D carrying these beautiful water color cards to give to¬†anyone celebrating an anniversary¬†(I still have mine from my 2 and 3-year anniversary).¬†She will be missed dearly.

Whose prayer are you the answer to today?

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Filed under Love, Prayer, Service