Clean And Sober, Recovery, 12 Step, Addictions|Music Video Inspiration For Recovery And Altered State|

Life Gets Better
The Moment
You Realize Your Thoughts are Mostly Wrong!

MUSIC & VIDEO INSPIRATION FOR LIFE'S STRUGGLES

  • Clean & Sober
    All addictions, 12-step, substance abuse, rehab

  • Overwhelmed
    Unhappiness, depression, self image, suicide, fear


  • Down, Not Out

  • Financial stress, poverty, comebacks, starting over


  • Growing Old

  • Old & Cranky, loss, grief, caregiver, regret, goodbye


  • Inspired Media

  • Smart media, film bits, commercials, insights


  • Life Lectures

  • Bright minds, hot topics, keep Life in perspective


  • Life / Comedy

  • Fun songs, stand-up, real people, healthy laughter


  • Homeless

  • Destitution, poverty, hope, struggle, survival, shelter, motivation & slideshow.


microsun

musicbar

“Those who wish
to sing, always
find a song.” 

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messagebottle


NEVER TOO LATE


SMOKING ADDICTION KILLS


IN ALCOHOLS DEFENSE


FALLING APART





CHECK YOUR POT HABIT


CREATOR


COREY MONTEITH QUOTE


WORK A HOLICS POSTER


WARNING


NOT WHERE I USED TO BE


CHRIS PRENTISS QUOTE


DON'T BE ASHAMED


SHIT HAPPENS POSTER


INTERNET ADDICTION


ALCOHOLIC THIEF


ROBIN WILLIAMS QUOTE


HAND CHAINED TO BOOZE


CIGARETTE ADDICTION


NEW LIFE / OLD LIFE


ONLINE SEX ADDICTION


JANIS JOPLIN QUOTE


GARBAGE IN / GARBAGE OUT


HOARDING POSTER


PAYPHONE GAMBLE





KURT COBAIN QUOTE


FRENCH FRIES IN CIGARETTE BOX


HOKEY POKE QUOTE ON OUTDOOR SIGN


STOP SMOKING CAMPAIGN PHOTO


TIMOTHY LEARY QUOTE


SPOT THE OBSESSSION


COCAINE HEARTBREAKER


BET TO STOP GAMBLING


SMOKING KILLS HANDGUN POSTER


KATEHAKIS QUOTE


TV ADDICTION


BEER: HELPING UGLY PEOPLE POSTER


KNOCK OFF EVERYTHING


HEATH LEDGER QUOTE


GARBAGE CAN FILLED WITH MONEY


STARBUCKS ADDICTION BUTTON


BUILDING THE NEW


DO IT FOR YOURSELF


CHURCHILL QUOTE


EASY AS PIE, MY ASS


COURAGE TO ASK


MY PROBLEM MY SOLUTION


HATE STARTING OVER


LIFE IS GOOD

BEGIN AGAIN

NOT EASY BUT WORTH IT


LIFE IS GOOD

Share




peace MUSIC
#64 Secret of Life? Lousiest Sober Day Beats Any Drunk 1

microsun

Not One Person On This Planet Escapes Without A Struggle

Welcome to
Being Human

ying VIDEO

Discover How Others Have Overcome

How Someone Just Like You Can Move Forward

microsun

Life Does Not Play Favorites

But It Does Reward Good Thinking

And Good Thinking Is Often Just A Good Song Away

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3cats

“A song will
outlive all sermons
in the memory.”

mricrosun

EMAIL WELL THAT'S LIFE


ROBERT DOWNEY ON DRUGS AND ALCOHOL


WILLIAM S. BURROUGHS QUOTE


COCAINE KILLS


MARIJUANA POSTER


CREATE YOURSELF


PHILLIP SEYMOUR HOFFMAN QUOTE


SOME HABITS


CHARLES BUKOWSKI WITH LIQUOR GLASS QUOTE


ALICE IN WONDERLAND QUOTE


JOHN BELUSHI QUOTE


LIQUOR ADDICTION GLASS


ROCK BOTTOM J.K. ROWLING QUOTE


ONE DAY AT A TIME


GEORGE CARLIN QUOTE


EAT / FAT EATING DISORDER


SOLVE PROBLEMS NEW THINKING NOT OLD


ADDICTION NOT PRETTY


GAMBLING ADDICTION


JOHN LENNON QUOTE


NOT SPECTATOR SPORT


HOLLYWOODS CRACK


FACEBOOK LOGOUT


COFFEE ADDICTION


BILL W. / DR. BOB QUOTE AA


TEXT ADDICTION


SNORKING DONUTS FOOD ADDICTION


NAVIGATE LIFE


NO I'M NOT ADDICTED


MARY KAY OLSEN QUOTE


HELL IS OTHER PEOPLE BEFORE COFFEE


TATTOOS ARE LIKE POTATOE CHIPS TWO FULL BODY TATTOOS


C.G. JUNG QUOTE


SPOON OF PHARMACEUTICALS


JUST SAY NO TO STEROIDS


DIET IS 4 LETTER WORD


ROB FORD STONED PHOTO


ANTHONY HOPKINS QUOTE


INSPIRE PEOPLE


HEROIN STARTS HERE





NO JUDGEMENTS


STEVEN TYLER QUOTE


ALCOHOLIC IDIOT POSTER


YOU CAN'T ALWAYS GET WHAT YOU WANT


JUDGE ME


JOURNEY OF A 1000 MILES


THE PRICE OF ANYTHING


IT GETS BETTER


SOBER SHERRY GLASS


NEVER FINISH


CLEAN and SOBER

“The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed
without changing our thinking.” Albert Einstein, Part-time Philosopher
 

One Day At A Time. Easy Does It. First Things First.
If Only Life Were That Simple. Well, guess what?

Interesting factoid from the internets: In Ancient Times they drank a terrible brew called Grogg and chased it down with a half-rock full of Draggo.

Imagine the Superbowl Ad for that one. Not much has changed except our laser-printed bottle-labels are better. And Grogg wasn't cheap. No word on tipping.

Although modern humankind has added a few chemicals to the mix, the essential idea of altering one's consciousness is still the same. And it's still Faulty Short-Term Thinking. FSTT? That's right. FSTT. The world of recovery is peppered with acronyms, slogans, mantras and cliches. You may have to take notes.

Attempting to Get Out Of Your Mind is nothing new.

What begins with such great promise, such creative juice and good-looking confidence ends so miserably for those unable to separate the fun & games from Life's sober demands. It's truly one of Life's great switch-a-roos.

What brought such great pleasure now brings a double-shot of pain. Which, calls for another round. And you're buying because they're broke. It no longer works, will never work again and they know it. A thirst which is never quenched. The best-friend the addict, alcoholic never had. What the hell happened?

Even when the fun has long abated, even when the harsh light of day reveals the extent of the damage -- neglect, mediocrity, under-acheiver-of-the-year awards, broken people -- and even when, at the end of it all, while wallowing in self-pity as sport the disease of addiction and obsession screams out for more.

It's similar for the relatively new category arrivals of mental quirks like heavy-duty over-eating, internet porn, marathon social media chat-typing, counting bathroom tiles, hellish hoarding or body pieces being added or sliced. Whatever strikes your fancy. The mind is an amazing tool, creating truly complex puzzles and situations to then solve.



And not one of these is you. Not the true you anyway. Indeed, all of these oddball and sometimes fabulously real incantations and circumstances are merely the result of you Being that artist of sorts. It's a beautiful demonstration of what you are capable of Being. But it's not you. That's important to remember. You are capable of being a drunk, an addict, fill_in_the_blank but it is only the real You choosing to Be . It sure does not feel like a choice, but ultimately, choice it is.

For many of us mortals, being in the so-called real world requires a little chemical modification. Or a little comfort food. Or a little internet distraction. For real Life feels threatening; enslavement is comforting. Normal is Altered. Funny how that works. Or in this case, funny how it doesn't work. The voice of denial deceives many, many good and bright souls daily.

The problem is never the problem. Active Alcoholics for example, never link their problems to drinking. They drink because they have problems. Even though the problem on this day may involve a drunk-driving court date. Good lawyers are hard to find, that's the problem. The voice of denial neglects to mention the problem was a direct result of alcoholic behaviors. It's cunning and baffling as they say.

And that faulty thinking applies equally to all our self-denials. Reality TV, if nothing else, has provided a birds' eye view into denial of the obvious: hoarders who see no issues with their penchant to collect stray cats; celebrity snorters wondering why rehab was court ordered; the morbidly obese happily snacking and sneaking a few extra calories. Denial is a spectator sport in the modern TV age.

What's blatantly obvious to an outsider looking in, is sadly oblivious to the addict or obsessive undertaking such destructive behaviors. Like a bad loop-tape, it's essentially a faulty thinking problem creating weirdly wonderful or horrific circumstances now appearing on channel 29 nightly.

Until Rock Bottom arrives. And one decides to live. Or one decides to let the old voice die before it kills them. Either way, recognition arrives because Life needed your attention. Bang, wake-up. And by-the-way, here's a few consequences for you to tidy-up. And that is difficult. There is alot of unpacked baggage.

Cleaning up takes real courage. Ask any former heroin addict who battled real physical demons of withdrawal symptoms and a looptape screaming for just one more jab. Or nicotine addicts screaming for one more puff. Some of these choices have real physical components to overcome, while other obsessions can be skirted with a modicum of self-discipline.

It's a wide spectrum with a shallow commonality -- thinking, physical and a somewhat comfortable routine. Knocking off that silly chalk-eating obsession is not necessarily on par with a toothless crack-cocaine junkie or that alcoholic who needs that drink to calm a shakey hand. In the world of recovery, not all things are equal.

(BACK TO VIDEO)

Troubled waters await those jumping on and off-the-wagon as well. That one is exhausting. Statistics say not many make it the first time through recovery unless battered and bruised enough.

But whether they get the message loud and clear early or late in life does not matter. Life rewards the effort. And that's a beautiful truth.

For once all the BS is stripped clear, relapse strips everything to the bone, we are more than capable of turfing the old self for the new and improved version. It takes a few attempts to get comfortable in the new skin of course. Relapse is very painful.

You've lost all credibility and you know it. That one gets deep into the bones, conspiring with shame and fear to brew a nasty bitter delusion that will thrust the combatant back on that muddy path for sometimes years. Don't give up. Give it another shot. Hang tough. Do not be ashamed, this is not a contest.

Albert Einstein is known for other works, but he's behind that famous quote:
"The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result."
You'll hear that one in every 12 Step program from Karachi to Botswana. Any active alcoholic, junkie or obsessive worth his salt will gladly admit it. It's insanity, like expecting the movie rerun to have a new ending.

But there's good news for those who are fed-up with being fed-up. There's no need of course to hit the rocky bottom. Like a slow moving freight train out of an old Western Movie, you can get off at any time.

The road to recovery is not easy to be sure. Shame is highly correlated to continuing addictions, obsessions and a raft of truly oddball repeating behaviors -- shame, fear, hopelessness and dread. Life needs to be altered because Real Life truly sucks because of the behaviors. Beautiful catch 22.

The truth is that addiction personality traits are neither a badge of shame nor a badge of honor. It is simply you at this particular moment in time choosing a behavior based on faulty thinking. It may appear to be workable at the moment, but Life requires a somewhat clear mind to function happily.

The behavior will eventually get you snarled in hellish circumstances and most know it. As it progresses down the proverbial tubes, you'll be like a witness to your own death. For some still in denial, they'll become ego-maniacs with an inferiority complex. The brain becomes very complicated and somewhat confused. That holds true for the so-called recreational drug users and weekend warriors as well.

Confused souls have attempted to run away for a mini-vacation from their natural state long before neon Happy Hour signs appeared on the landscape. Not one of them has ever succeeded in finding that elusive better-self in bottle, needle, smoke or cheeseburger obsession.

Like the famous Dr. Seus observed, 'I turned around and there I was.'

QUICK 3 STEP BANNER


Into action is not for the timid.
It's not like asking someone to go to the gym for you. It's something only you can do. And without action to alter your course of behavior, you are heading for trouble. Big trouble.

If you think it's bad now, run the tape forward a few years. Ask anyone who's hesitated or relapsed on the road to recovery. They'll tell you loud and clear that, in no uncertain terms, that you'll be way ahead of the game if you take action immediately. Picking up the pieces, regardless of your addiction/obsession/behavior, gets difficult as you age -- it's downright exhausting.

Here's three core starting points and some tips to get you on and keep you on that recovery path. Compiled from a few thoughtful people who've been there, done that, and would like to remind you that Life Is Good clean and sober. Even the worst day beats the best day of the old life. Or least that's the goal. In the game of abstinence, quality counts more than longevity. So keep up the good work. As cliche as it gets, Life Unfolds One Day At A Time. And you can withstand anything for one day -- including abstinence. It gets better. Much better one day at a time.

ACKNOWLEDGE
1) ADMIT YOUR PROBLEM. All things begin and end here. This may sound simplistic, but even the hardcore of the hardcore remind themselves daily that they have a problem with the altered state. Get that in your bones and soul.

Acknowledge to yourself that you have a problem -- and include the little factoid that You are Not the problem. In otherwords, you have a problem but You are not the problem. Part of the equation is faulty thinking to be sure, but You as a human are perfectly capable of correcting course. Unfortunately, most need a hard landing to get this point across -- so if you're miserable with your existence, you are closer to making a bit of magic happen. Being truly fed-up is a good starting point.

If you still vacillate between "I may have a problem" and "I have a problem" you will continue with hopes of getting different results. And you won't. It will get much, much worse. So, acknowledge and accept that you can no longer continue along this path ever again expecting different results. And get hopeful.

You can do this. Life Is Good and rewards good thinking followed up with a bit of action. Once you acknowledge this, you'll have a little dilemma when the bullshit arrives should you relapse into the old groove. If that's the case, Begin Again.


ACTION / SUPPORT
2) SEEK OUT ASSISTANCE. It's imperative to get busy. Google support groups (377,000,000 listings) and locate like minded people. Whether it be Narcotics Anonymous, private rehab, AA, Overeaters Anonymous or counseling facilities , it's vital you get connected to support of some form or fashion. Otherwise, you're kidding yourself. If you could achieve clean and sober or change on your own you would have.

These groups are not popularity contests so you can arrive with all your ugly baggage in tow, and of course your own story to tell. You'll discover you are not that unique, which is comforting since you'll instantly relate to the other combatants. And it is a battle. Do not smartass this step. Get help. Do not be embarrassed nor fearful. These groups know you already. And someday you may choose to be there for another newcomer as well. That's best case scenario.


BUCK UP, OWN IT ALL
3) SELF DISCIPLINE & RESPONSIBILITY. Ultimately this is your Life. You are the Captain of your ship. You may have some outside influences and chaotic circumstance swirling about, but at the end of the day only you can navigate to contented shores. It is entirely your responsibility how you wish to conduct yourself.

Once you cut through the bullshit, excuses and faulty thinking, with a bit of help from your friends, you should arrive into the person you were meant to be. Or at least give you a fighting chance to create who you wish to be. You can choose to remain the same of course if you can withstand the consequences. Few can.

And while you're flexing a bit of self-discipline try extending complete forgiveness to yourself and others involved in your drama. Drop all resentments. Own your
existence -- the good, the bad and the ugly. For we are all self-created. It's only the successful types admit to being self-made.

Take full responsibility for your current state-of-affairs. And be sure to take a full inventory of what's right, what's wrong and what needs immediate attention.

These three core principles should find a spot on your on own grocery list. It'll help if you cobble together a top ten list of such guiding principles. There are many, many others that will come into focus as you progress. But these are good starting points. Each person in recovery will have their own variation, so feel free to steal with abandon. Whatever works. But do work it.

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A FEW TIPS (BACK TO VIDEO)

"The Greatest Program Ever Created On Planet Earth is Alcoholics Anonymous,"
began one very-short speech from a guy named George. You personally may have a differing opinion on that bold statement. Fair enough. Truth be told, AA did begin a 12 step revolution that most self-help groups follow in some form or fashion to this day.

It was inspired for sure. It touched on all elements that needed addressing in the human psyche to unshackle the obsessive compulsions that if left unattended will surely bite one in the ass. And not gently.

From this one 1927 Bill and Bob club, came All Other 12 Step-programs. AA got it right. The Other Recovery Programs may doll-it-up-a-bit and call it something else for your pleasure, but the truth contained in AA's Twelve Steps To Recovery are unshakeable and found to some degree in all similar programs worldwide.

Now-a-days there's a program to address your need for so-many programs. It's true. From old school Alcoholics Anonymous to the obscure, but very popular, "I'm A Sex-A-Holic" internet-based self-help programs. In between fall all the various programs and parades addressing human disorders, real and imagined. Group therapy is now twitted, facebooked, tumbled and forumed up the ying-yang. Google 12 Step Program and spend a moment to peruse 212 Million candidates.

Nonetheless, here's a mix of suggestions, in no particular order, from those who have been you at one time or another. They'd like to pass along a few pointers that they found of importance on their journey. Incorporate a few of these in your program, whatever that may entail. Send us any suggestions that you found of assistance and we'll include those here as well. And keep up the good work.

Forgive Yourself And Others: This one is self evident but difficult to put into practice. As you reflect upon your story, you'll see the error of your ways and just how far you may have fallen. And it can get pretty bad -- relationships torn, jobs lost, homes destroyed, people broken etc.. Be willing to forgive yourself. Not forget, but forgive. You'll no doubt seek forgiveness from others while possibly making amends. If you can't forgive yourself, it'll be a hard sale to convince anyone else to extend that courtesy. Give yourself a clean slate privately. And forgive any and all those that you perceive may have offended you in any way as well.
That was the old you. The new you is quick to forgive. Be astute enough to separate the behavior from you -- that was you choosing to be in the altered state. And yes, it was a mess. But do not wallow in self-pity too long. Forgive yourself first and then seek forgiveness. You may discover others are not so forgiving and will even question your newfound zeal -- that's why it's important to forgive yourself rather than seeking validation from others. You are doing your best (if that's true) to rise above what you were. Forgive yourself and move on. Begin Again.

Willingness: Without it you won't even begin. Sadly, willingness usually means the pain of change is less than the pain of staying the course. Some need to be truly beaten into submission, while others not so much. Willingness to become the better version of you must be more than lip service -- it must by necessity include a strong action component (see below). Foster good thinking on this one, you are now willing to do whatever it takes, so step out and demonstrate that new found control. If you are willing, the good life is waiting. Guaranteed.

Get A Plan: Clearing out wreckage of your past can be daunting. This is not a weekend long renovation project. Like any competent navigator, you'll need to chart a small pirate map. Of all rules, do this one first: Take small do-able bite-sized action steps. Do the next right thing as they say. For example, if you have unmet obligations dragging like an anchor, do not be silent. Come up with a plan. Even a bad plan beats no plan everytime. Be pro-active and confront fear head-on. Your plan should only have 3 levels: Short-term/Immediate; Mid-range/6 months to one year; long-range/life. Stay focused on immediate and slowly dip into the other two as ideas become clearer. Keep the plan simple: Stay clean and sober come hell or high water.

90 Meetings In 90 Days: Now that's a challenge. The idea being one of complete saturation. This could involve daily meetings with whatever group that happens to fit the bill -- online and offline. Online should only be used should you be unable to attend in person. It's just too isolated for what you seek the results to be had -- that's re-socialization as a clean and sober (we'll include all vices here) human being on the mend. You need healthy contact with other humans who have overcome exactly your predicament. Get out there and commit to as many meetings as you can -- just surround yourself with all of your program for 90 days. Make it a top-priority. And ignore any results. No expectations, just do it.

Self-Discipline: Of all the so-called character defects, lack of Self-Discipline will essentially cripple all those great thoughts of beginning again. For Self-Discipline will allow you to take action even when you'd prefer not too -- get your ass off the couch and to a meeting or to the gym or to a family visit. If you can cultivate the "Do The Next Right Thing" mantra, you'll do well. That mantra eliminates decisions. You simply do the next right thing -- you'll know what it is.
Remember, you only need Self-Discipline to get rolling. Once rolling momentum will take over the job. This one stands head and shoulders above all others, for it is required to unlock all the others -- like a secret key. Your self-discipline will determine everything -- so buck-up and take control. Do you want a better life bad enough?

Ignore All Results For 30 Days: Now that sounds counterintuitive and it is for good reason. Constantly monitoring your progress will distract you from the doing of the progress. Resist the temptation to pat yourself on the back for 30 days. Expect nothing to really happen during the 30 days and then take stock on day 31 -- you'll be amazed. Do the right things for 30 days expecting no results nor any standing ovations -- if they happen, take a bow and move on quickly. By ignoring results you've freed the mind to simply be the person doing all the right things without question. Results that come forth -- and they do come quick -- should be considered vapor wisps and not bedrock for your new foundation. They call it a Pink Cloud in some circles, due to it's transient nature. Feeling good is good, but you seek much more then a temporary rush. Consistency counts. Underplay progress. And be humble in your successes.

No Grandstanding: Make no grand announcements or predictions to the masses. This is not New Year's resolution time. And expect no standing ovations. In fact only reveal your plans for change to a very select few -- one confidante preferably -- or to your group/12 step members with common cause. Pronouncements zap energy when misdirected to those who have little interest. Keep it under wraps and quietly go about the business of correcting course. Be humble and let the masses notice a subtle shift.
For the vast majority of the population, your quest is not of great interest. Nor should it be -- they get up and head into the real world, pay their taxes and try and do the right things. So, be aware that your quest is a very personal journey. This is not something you share with every Tom, Dick and Mary. Show yourself some respect on this one -- keep your plans under wraps. And let your actions speak volumes.

Pick UP A Lunch Bucket: That's an old saying from the early days of AA. What it meant was get your ass busy doing something to pay the bills. Get a job. Any job. OR keep your job. Life does not stop. Obligations must be met. Treat all work as equal, for there is no shame in hard work. Get busy and feel good pulling your own weight. And enjoy your days off -- you've earned them. Keep your eyes peeled for better opportunities and try and avoid any sudden dramatic changes on the job front. Do not give up a paycheck until you have one to move into -- it's a myth that you must sacrifice a bad job for the sake of sobriety. Paying taxes is good for the soul. Keep the paycheck rolling.

Laughter Therapy: Well maybe not therapy so much, but the do-it-yourself variety should suffice. Maintaining a sense of humor is the sign of good and proper mental health. You can laugh again. And it'll feel good. There's a 50/50 chance you dragged your butt into the clean and sober world kicking and screaming. Or as they say you were fed-up of being fed-up. Now is the time to surround yourself with people who enjoy a good laugh and walk light-hearted around issues that can't be changed. (<--- see video) Some groups have a Sponsor component (like a mentor) for newcomers and old-timers alike. Choose one with a healthy sense of humor if you get the opportunity. The real world demands a sense of light-heartedness. Get yourself a sense of humor.

Embrace Gratitude/Appreciation/Hope: If you don’t learn the language of gratitude, you will never be on speaking terms with happiness. And the language is easy to master (unlike Latin) especially for those feeling sorry-for-themselves. Take an inventory of what good things you have in life and turf the others -- and we do mean physical inventory as well. These three are good tent pegs for your program of recovery. They may not be solidly in the ground from the get-go, but you'll discover all three play a healthy role as you make progress. As you move ever so far from the old lifestyle, gratitude, appreciation and hope will be along for the ride.

Prayer and meditation: Whatever approach you undertake, designate time for peace, quiet and thoughtful reflection. Turn off all devices and toys while you're at it
-- no distractions. Prayer and/or meditation can facilitate some interesting thought processes. It will provide you an opportunity to give thanks and reflect upon your state-of-being. Consider re-engaging former and possibly long forgotten spiritual practices -- head back to church -- or taking a Yoga class at the local community center. Find something that works for you. But designate dedicated time to spiritual evolution and education. You are much more than flesh, bone and brain. Explore prayer/meditation options and you'll discover a new dimension to yourself and a fresh outlook on the world at large. And it's good for the soul.

Stay focused one-day-at-a-time: Your mind may wish to race forward into nooks and crannies and scenarios that have absolutely no possibility of resolution. At this moment at least. Stay focused on 24 hour compartments by doing the right things within that scope. Some of the Modern Age gurus speak highly of the Present Moment. "Live in the moment", they say, "nothing else is real." It's convincing as hell when backed-up with PBS-like Science Shows theorizing time as being a myth. But it's not complicated. Live each day as it unfolds and make clear-headed choices that will ensure the next day arrives pleasantly.

None of these guide-posts are written in stone. And there are many you'll add to this Readers' Digest version. Stay flexible. Recovery is a world of discovery. Find what works for you, generally from others who have traveled this path less traveled. Your old life may have become a wasteland of missed opportunities and regretful human interactions. Like oil and water, addiction and real life just gets weird. Your new life should be the exact opposite. Eventually.

Remember: In time, what once baffled you will inform you and what once scared you will give you strength. You have removed yourself from wallowing in that pit of despair. Now what? It's entirely in your hands. But keep up the good work.

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TOP TEN LIST

From The Internets

1.  “Just cause you got the monkey off your back doesn't’t mean the circus has left town.”  — George Carlin (American comedian)

2.  “I admire addicts. In a world where everybody is waiting for some blind, random disaster, or some sudden disease, the addict has the comfort of knowing what will most likely wait for him down the road. He’s taken some control over his ultimate fate, and his addiction keeps the cause of death from being a total surprise.”  — Chuck Palahniuk  (American satirist)

3.  “Why is it drug addicts and computer aficionados are both called users?”  — Clifford Stoll (author)

4.  “Addiction should never be treated as a crime. It has to be treated as a health problem. We do not send alcoholics to jail in this country. Over 500,000 people are in our jails who are nonviolent drug users. “  — Ralph Nader

5.  “Don’t do drugs because if you do drugs you’ll go to prison, and drugs are really expensive in prison.”  – John Hardwick

6.  “Drugs have taught an entire generation of American kids the metric system.”  – P.J. O’Rourke

7.  “Did you know America ranks the lowest in education but the highest in drug use?  It’s nice to be number one, but we can fix that.  All we need to do is start the war on education.  If it’s anywhere near as successful as our war on drugs, in no time we’ll all be hooked on phonics.”  – Leighann Lord

8.  “In the 1960s, people took acid to make the world weird.  Now the world is weird, and people take Prozac to make it normal.”   – Author Unknown

9.  “Before you can break out of prison, you must realize you are locked up.”  — Author Unknown

10. ”At bottom is the best soil to sow and grow something new again.  In that sense, hitting bottom, while extremely painful, is also the sowing ground.”  — Author Unknown

11 (bonus). “You know you’re an alcoholic when you misplace things … like a decade.”  — Paul Williams (American songwriter and composer)

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WHEN ALL ELSE FAILS, LOCKDOWN REHAB

Fix Magazine, 06/25/14
MARIA WEEKS


Not proud to say it, but in the last few years of my alcoholism, I could be found in only a few key spots: in bed, at the liquor store, or in hospitals (mental and emergency rooms).

But there was this faint albeit persistent voice inside me that kept saying: “Don’t give up” - even after countless suicide attempts. Too much of a pussy to jump off a bridge, I’d down enough pills to put a herd of elephants to sleep.

On one attempt, I awoke in the emergency room with a priest standing over me.

“God has other plans for you; that is why you didn't’t die,” he said. But, I don’t believe in Personal Gods and did not believe one would save me, especially when there were more deserving candidates - like the innocent cancer-ridden children down the hall from me.

I’d been to Rancho L’ Bri, a spa-like rehab, four times. I loved it and was dead certain every time I was released that my drinking days were over. I’d be riding the pink cloud, feeling reborn, ready to start my new life over.

RELAPSE

Do you know what it feels like to think you have finally surrendered: you’re working the program, doing the steps, made the decision to turn your will over to the care of God (as you understand him). . . only to do the unfathomable, pick up again?

The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous says: Rarely have we seen a person fail that has thoroughly followed our path, and you think, “Yep that’s right, that’s what it says and that is what I’m doing and I’m not failing” and then, bam! You walk across the street and an environmental cue - in the form of a liquor store - sets off that craving switch in your brain and it’s relentlessly powerful and it won’t leave you alone until you give in to it. So you get the booze, drink it, just to shut the damn switch off. And it works. For about ten minutes. Then it comes back on and stays on for the duration.

My last stint at County Mental Health, an unlikely angel in the guise of an overworked, irritated doctor came to my rescue. She looked at my chart and said: “Man, what is up with you? You have been here so many times and you know what? You don’t belong here.”

“What?” I replied. “I sure do belong here - look how many times I’ve tried to kill myself.”

She acknowledged that part of the problem was genetic depression, but made it clear the alcohol was making it exponentially worse.

“I’m not so sure you would’ve tried to kill yourself had you not been drinking. There is only one solution to your problem. Treatment.” She put a list down in front of me and said: “Here you go, take your pick. Most of them are county and free so you can’t use the excuse they’re too expensive.”

“But, but,” I wailed, “I’ve tried treatment so many times! Besides, my AA buddies say I don’t need treatment - all I need to do is surrender to the program. And I love the program; I just can’t stop drinking.”

“Okay,” she said plainly, “how long did you spend in treatment each time?” Before I could say anything she said, “What? A month?” I nodded.

Then she said: “There are no 30 day miracles. You should know that by now. Don’t come back here again until you’ve done at least six months of treatment.”

TOUGH REHAB

Since I had no money, and nowhere else to go, I agreed to enter long term treatment.

I ended up at a “last house on the block” type of rehab, run by an evangelical ex-junkie named Richard. His rehab, the Ethridge Center, had become an icon, known for taking the worst of addicts and turning them into sober productive members of society.

He believed the only way to get clean initially was not through God, a higher power, or AA meetings, but to be quarantined. This entailed not being able to leave the premises for the first three months except to exercise in the yard. After that you could leave, but always in the company of staff.

Lockdown rehab does not deal with the moral or spiritual aspect of abstaining, using, or relapsing; its one and only goal is to alleviate cravings through non-exposure to drugs and alcohol.

Cravings are nothing but extremely powerful memories of pleasure (euphoric recall) brought on by drug use. It’s also estimated that “euphoric recall” registers two to ten times stronger in the hippocampus than any other pleasurable activity - even sex! So if someone has told you in your first few days of sobriety the best way to deal with cravings is to play the tape back by remembering how bad things got the last time you used, you may not have much success, because euphoric recall is so powerful, it overrides negative memories.

So what is the solution? The solution is to rid oneself of euphoric recall! And it’s a lot easier than you might think and here’s why: if euphoric recall is nothing but a memory, don’t most memories fade in time? For example, I’ve forgotten how to speak Japanese, only because I no longer use it living in California.

GET RID OF CRAVINGS

It’s estimated that cravings begin to attenuate in about three months, and by the sixth month they are usually gone. Of course there are some exceptions to the rule, for some people cravings may never go away completely. However, they will be a lot fainter and easier to manage than they were in early sobriety.

Personally, I knew this approach to be the most effective, only because I’d been down this road before. While living in L.A. 20 years ago, I had a “once a month” crack addiction. Like clockwork, the cravings would be so powerful, I felt the only way to alleviate them was to use crack. Then I heard on the radio one day that the only way a person could conquer crack was to be in an environment where it wasn’t available. So I decided to move back to Japan where crack wasn’t available. I was there as an English teacher before, so I put on my teacher hat again and headed for Japan. And it was the smartest thing I ever did. After about six months of no exposure to crack, the short term memories of how fantastic that first hit felt were impossible to recall.

When I got out of Richard’s rehab, six months later, I did the test: I walked past my liquor store - the one I always relapsed in. Instead of thinking how soothing just one beer would feel - the urge I’d always get after being released from a one-month rehab - a revolting memory hit me of the time I threw up all over the counter. I staggered out of there, gasping for breath. But I was delighted! My cravings were gone, and I can say to this day, have never re-emerged.

Remember: if you’ve tried everything except jail and still can’t get sober, try lockdown rehab. Don’t use the excuse you can’t afford it; there are state-run rehabs everywhere. Don’t say you don’t have the time, either. That is an excuse solely reserved for people that did make it in one-month rehabs, or were helped by AA, or were able to quit on their own.

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RANDOM THOUGHTS BANNER HEADLINE

“Here is the solution to the American drug problem suggested a couple years back by the wife of our President: "Just say no.” 
― Kurt VonnegutBluebeard

“If you put the wrong foods in your body, you are contaminated and dirty and your stomach swells. Then the voice says, Why did you do that? Don't you know better? Ugly and wicked, you are disgusting to me.” 
Bethany PierceFeeling For Bones

If You Were A Drunken Horse Thief and Sobered Up, You'd Still Be A Horse Thief


"Being altered, through whatever means -- be it booze, pot, crack or endless eating -- is normal to the addict. It's who they are. Just as a so-called well adjusted person gets off his ass, goes to work and battles to pay the unionized babysitter. Normal is a relative term."
~ Kevin Cline

"It may have begun innocently enough, but stagger down that road long enough and you'll discover you've spent more time altered than clean or sober. The goal is to regain the upper hand -- more years clean and sober. Quality counts."

"One of the most important facts to remember about alcoholism is its progression. Alcoholism begins in an early stage that looks nothing at all like a life-threatening disease, proceeds into a middle stage where problems begin to appear and intensify, and gradually advances into the late, degenerative stages of obvious physiological dependence, physical and psychological deterioration, and loss of control."
~ William F. AsburyBeyond the Influence

Recovery is about purpose and meaning in life, not 'sobriety' and meetings.

"The idea that somehow, someday he will control and enjoy his drinking is the great obsession of every abnormal drinker. The persistence of this illusion is astonishing. Many pursue it into the gates of insanity or death."
~ Alcoholics AononymousThe Big Book

“I’m trying to overcome my OCD by replacing my neurosis with three other letters.” 
Jarod Kintz

"A man who drinks too much on occasion is still the same man as he was sober. An alcoholic, a real alcoholic, is not the same man at all. You can't predict anything about him for sure except that he will be someone you never met before.
~ Raymond ChandlerThe Long Goodbye

“The mentality and behavior of drug addicts and alcoholics is wholly irrational until you understand that they are completely powerless over their addiction and unless they have structured help, they have no hope.” 
Russell Brand


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THANKS FOR READING

Secret of Life #486 is that 78% of all cliches are true. It's also true the remaining 22% can kinda make you feel a little silly. But the world of rehab, recovery, weight-loss, OCD, and all other programs to address quirks of the mind are peppered with cliches' and acronyms up the ying yang. So get use to it. One day at a time if required.

The problem with cliches is they are rooted in truth. They carry with them undeniable wisdom, embedded Secrets of Life if you will. Life cannot possibly be that bloody simple you might say. One day at a time for example -- that old-tired slogan hanging on the walls of gritty basement twelve-step programs -- can actually be traced back to biblical times. These days, it is more often invoked by new age prophets pontificating about the power of the present moment.

Most mature adults dislike the idea of living Life with a pocketful of slogans, mantras, positive verse and post-it notes tacked to the bathroom mirror. The evidence suggest they work -- and they work because your mind is brought back into focus. It takes that one silly cliche to trigger all the other thoughts that surround it -- like a cascade of good thinking. If you're on the wagon or climbing back on, cliches are swarming.

You are no doubt Fed-up with the expression "Fed-up of being Fed-up". Admit it, you're Fed-up, we're Fed-up, they're Fed-up. The whole world is Fed-up. Fed-up is actually a good place to begin again. We truly are Fed-up with ourselves being Fed-up. At least from this perch, you know what you don't want. It's a start.

The question becomes what choices do we make going forth?

Now to be fair, not all "choices" are really choices, contrary to some of that personal-growth hogwash that floats by now and again. Choosing to be who you are is somewhat foreign to most addictive types -- until and if they enter a world known as recovery. One of the very first lessons is the not so little issue of self-responsibility. It's being responsible for the choices we make.

Remember: You are doing many things right. String enough of those right things together and you'll arrive into a Life Worth Living. Soon, you won't recognize yourself. And that's a good thing indeed. Begin Again anytime.

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