I AM LORI E AND I AM A RECOVERING ALCOHOLIC
How To Get Sober
Typically, those who have experienced what they are teaching to others are better teachers than those who have not and are merely teaching out of the book per-say. We in AA don’t use the word “teacher” because there are too many emotional issues attached to the word for addicts. Sponsors are teachers and we teach our sponsees how to live sober. That’s one of the most important jobs a teacher can have. If I had not been successful at staying sober for over nine years myself this article would be less authentic. I came from a life of deep dark heroin, cocaine, methadone, Xanax, alcohol and nicotine addiction. This article is heartfelt and I am mustering up some compassion for those still suffering from addiction so I don’t become too far removed from where I have come from.
Simply put…Before I could get sober I had to hit bottom. My bottom was crack dens and then jail. But jail was a step up from where I had been. First step to sobriety was prayer. I prayed and prayed some more. I have not stopped.
Then I did almost everything the people in AA and rehab suggested I do. I did get into a relationship with a guy who had seven years sober at the time. We are still sober today…but he is a rare find, hence the prayer. He is a gift straight from God.
90 Meetings in 90 Days is a very important suggestion for many reasons like to establish new sober friendships. To create new patterns, habits. To learn the twelve steps and traditions. To get a sponsor. To work the 12 steps. Begin doing Twelve Step work like chairing meetings which builds new new worth. To build tolerance and patience. For gratitude to see people worse off than me. To share my own experience, strength, and hope which adds to my gratitude and self worth by remembering how far I have come. For accountability which has a big part in keeping me sober in the beginning. Basically 90 meetings in 90 days resets our brain and jump-starts our recovery. People newly sober are like sponges. To a point we absorb recovery sitting in repetitive meetings.
Next I sought God with my heart and at churches. I sought a spiritual connection in places where people seek God.
CONNECT WITH THE WOMEN AND GET THERAPY
Next I did group recovery therapy with other women in rehab and a brilliant psychologist. Rehab and AA authorities teach newcomers to stay away from romance and relationships for an entire year, including sex. However if you are a person capable of independently working your own 12 step program and not falling into a codependent life-style which pulls you away from working hard at recovery, then perhaps you won’t trade your sobriety-in for the closeness of a man or woman’s affection as so many newly sober people do. I promise you no matter how much my partner (a man) was there for me we just were not able to relate to each other at a core level like me and the women relate.
My life-partner gave me excellent suggestions but when it came to the core level emotional processes that needed to take place for me to heal it had to be the women who listened, cared, and empathized in the way I needed. My soul so badly needed to finally be validated and realize I was not chronically different and I dod not have to be ashamed any more. I saw myself as a child and realized my own innocence. I did not have to condemn myself anymore. My sisters and I are one. This connection phenomena is crucial to healing.
I disliked women didn’t trust them and thought I was protecting myself by not opening up to them. I had to let my walls down and tell people that I was afraid. Tell them that I was ashamed. Me the tough girl is a women who has a heart that wants to be loved and a ‘part-of’. My Higher Power gave me the connections I needed. I found a safe place with my new women friends.
My boyfriend on the other hand…he makes me laugh. Laughter is so important when your getting sober. It releases the feel-good endorphins we all need so badly.
WORK THE 12 STEPS
I worked the 12 step of Alcoholic Anonymous. The first time I did the steps was in rehab and my fourth step was all blame and anger. I was furious at everyone, I hated myself. The second time I did them I wrote a fifty page fourth step on all my resentments, and thing I resented myself for and was ashamed of. I did writing on each one to get my pent up feelings out. Trust me the men will say it’s all wrong to do it that way, well most men. But for us women it’s a life saver. Some people stay in deep denial over their resentments and short comings. While others beat themselves to a pulp over their mistakes. All I know is the truth will set us free but we need to speak that truth to a sponsor. I needed a sponsor that would not shut me down and invalidate my feelings and thoughts. I had that all my life. It was my fifth step therefore all I needed was an empathetic listener so I could get it all out.
“CALL YOU ON YOUR SHIT” SPONSOR
I have heard many times those that need a kick you in the ass sponsor who “calls you on your shit”. If someone is still in deep denial over their-part of event of the past I can see where that could snap a person out of it. You know if that’s the kind of sponsor you need. That does not mean that you are worse than those that need the more mellow empathic sponsors. It just depends on your personality.
My Brain needed washing
If I would have had the call you on your shit sponsor I would have fired her from the get go. I consider certain things disrespectful that others may not. Such as name-calling and spewing out authoritative orders in a public place to show they are inn charge and superior. I am an addict not a dog. Don’t order me around like one. I can’t control the behavior of other people but I can walk away. Respect is the first vital component in a successful relationship. Respect from a sponsor and anyone for that matter is something I have found in sobriety. They say “We teach people how to treat us.” And we should know a person by who they show us they are not by who they tell us they are.” There is no perfect sponsor and we wouldn’t relate to one if there were. But through prayer we can get the sponsor that is perfect for us.
Next more prayer, more meditation and on that note…lots of nature. The ocean, the beach, the springs, the river. Buy a raft and go float. Get lots of sunshine and lots and lots of water. Personally I drank allot of grape juice not sure why but I believe your own body will tell you what it needs. Easy on the coffee at least the impure coffee with additives and fake creamer. Easy on the sugar but fake sugar is worse. Lots more nature. Meditate with crystals. Put one on your forehead, close your eyes and try to concentrate on one sing thought or prayer. After you do that long enough you will clear your mind. This step 11 exerciser with give you patience and insight, it will promote enlightenment.
Lastly Step 12 Service Work
I started chairing meetings at sixty days sober. I took commitments for service work such as bringing meetings into work release. Bringing meetings into the jails and the rehab center. I was hot and heavy into service work for the first five years I was sober. I kinda slacked off since then but still participate just not as much. Service work is where my self-esteem and confidence where molded. The benefits of service are immense. And there is no telling what it has done for my karma.
That’s it in a nutshell. AA builds lives.