Press play button below for audio recording of “I’m From”
I’m from the 60’s, from my old lady and my old man, from flower children, groovy, and far out man
I’m from you dig, coming down, I’m hip,
and meanwhile back at the ranch
I’m from uppers and downers, and tripping and booze
I’m from free love, pedal pushers, pig out and right on
I’m from James Taylor, Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell and Sting
I’m from we all live in a yellow submarine
I’m from staying up too late, getting up too late, running away, and screwing and getting stoned
I’m from hating my job, fear of flying, crazy landlords and cheating and lies
I’m from who cares, why does it matter, hope I die, can’t stand it, and can’t do it, I’m from it should not, must not be this way and it’s just not fair
I’m from I’m afraid of getting too close and I’m afraid of being alone, I’m from silk stockings, sculptured nails, permed hair, red wine and married men
I’m from who gives a flying f, why do I have to do it, why does bad stuff always happen to me, I’m from it’s awful, it’s terrible, and the world must do what I want or else I’m gonna get seriously pissed off
I from too much LFT, and too much LSD, I’m from getting triggered, and woe is me
I’m from broken promises, broken hearts and broken legs
I’m from numbed out, pushed down, blissed out, dismissed and fired
I’m from fear of the future, regret about the past and never being here in the present
I’m from dark days and sleepless nights and panic attacks and endless depression and way too many therapists
I’m from Buddhist retreats, I’m from being twice a widow, I’m from blacking out, falling down, I’m from endless hangovers, I’m from too much caffeine, I’m from pills and potions and desperate pleas for help, I’m from fed up, wiped out, and pretending to turn my life over to a higher power
I’m from falling down the 12 steps and then looking for a different way to quit using and boozing
I’m from choosing to be clean and sober
I’m from saving my life with health foods, mantras, Hakomi therapy, 5 Rhythms dancing, and Smart Recovery tools, I’m from going to meetings and I’m from volunteering
I’m from playing the tape to the end of the story, I’m from ABC’s and CBAs, VACI’s and USA and UOA and ULA and UBA, and I’m from ANTS, and I’m from PIG and I’m From PB&J
I’m from grieving over too many deaths in too short of a time, I’m from fleeing from fires in Australia, I’m from a major car crash that came close to killing me
I’m from watching my husband die from a brain hemorrhage, I’m from wishing we had a chance to say goodbye, I’m from meditating and sitting with my feelings, I’m from learning how to live alone and I’m from getting on with a new life after over four years of grieving
I’m from getting chronic leukemia and I’m from fighting it, being angry about it, swearing at it and finally surrendering to, accepting it, and once again getting on with my life
I’m from laughing for no reason at all, I’m from disarming my urges, I’m from being clean and sober no matter what it takes
I’m from an HOV that lovingly places ‘clean and sober’ at the top of my list, and because of what they call ‘the hundred year flood’, I’m from a dilapidated motel room in Boulder Colorado with no idea where I’m going next and I’m from I’m ok with being in a dilapidated motel room in Boulder Colorado with no idea where I’m going next
I’m from accepting that I’m still a little crazy, pedantic, insecure, silly, temperamental and pushy. I’m from not being a bad person, just behaving badly sometimes. I’m from a kind heart, I’m from compassion and joy
I’m from effervescence, and intuition and a wisdom that just keeps growing. I’m from trust. I’m from letting go. I’m from love. I’m from knowing that I can’t change the past. I’m from gratitude.
I’m from forgiving but not forgetting when it’s important to remember. I’m from this place I like to think of as my home away from home.
I’m from SMART recovery.
© questor7 2014
>Listen to audio here
A Not So Perfect High
A True Story
I’m walking down the same street I’ve walked down hundreds of times before. Nothing’s changed. It’s the same street. Same stores. Same liquor store, one that has never interested me before because it’s filled with things I can’t have, or rather, let’s say, things I choose not to have. But something is different this time. I really notice the liquor store. I hear a Scotch bottle whispering my name.
Well, then, beam me up, Scotty.
I see myself walking into the store, picking up a couple of bottles of Scotch and two bottles of wine, paying for them and walking back out onto the street. I have been feeling kind of down lately, maybe bored, frustrated, but nothing new has happened that has thrown my life into a tailspin. I’ve just suddenly fallen into a trance and decided to get drunk.
I go home and take out my favorite Scotch glass and fill it to the brim. I make a toast to the ether and take a small taste. Ah, yes, the familiar warm feeling in the back of my throat. I remember that well. As the sips turn into gulps, a wonderful painless state begins to permeate my body. Free at last. No pain. No fear. No anxiety. Nothing to face. Nothing to work out. Loneliness vanishes. How could I have stayed sober for so many years? Why did I bother? Did I forget how completely perfect it is to get high, to forget, to feel nothing?
Then something begins to eat at me. I’m edgy. Uncomfortable. No, I don’t want to remember my friendships, the hard work I put into changing my life, the years of tears and struggle, the numerous panic attacks I overcame, those peak moments when I conquered my fears. No! I gulp down my drink and quickly pour another and another until I can’t remember how many I’ve had or what it was I was trying to forget.
I wake up the next morning slumped over the table, nauseated, depressed, scared, lonely. I can’t call anyone. I’m too ashamed. I can’t admit I did this. I open up the bottle of Scotch and quickly gulp down another drink. Yes, I can just keep doing this. I can forget. Please don’t let me remember why I got sober in the first place. Please don’t let me feel the pain of throwing away all those years of sobriety. I can’t face myself. I can’t face anyone else. I’ll just keep drinking until everything disappears. Until I disappear.
And then this strange thing happens. I find myself standing outside that same liquor store. It gradually dawns on me that I never did go in. It was all just a fantasy, a completely unexpected urge that tried to send me reeling down a slippery slope of temptation. But I didn’t go there.
So why didn’t I drink? I used one of the tools I learned at Smart Recovery a few years ago from Dawg , an online facilitator. I learned to play the tape all the way to the end of the story. And when I saw the consequences of that ending, I knew it would never be worth it. The only benefit would be a few minutes of feeling numb and then it would all turn into a train wreck. A long and costly train wreck.
Over eight years ago I decided that there was never a good reason to use or drink, no matter what happened to me. I went to numerous Smart Recovery meetings where I was cared for and supported by so very many wonderful people. I worked hard and spent hours and hours learning how to use the Smart tools. I made lots of new friends. Life was becoming worth living. I loved going to bed sober and I also loved waking up without a hangover.
One morning in 2009, my husband, David, woke up with a terrible headache. I didn’t think much of it at the time. But within a couple of minutes, he lost his balance and fell down because unbeknownst to me, he had just suffered a brain hemorrhage that would kill him in the next 24 hours. We never had a chance to say goodbye to each other. I felt robbed of my life and my love. David was my main reason to stay alive and I wasn’t sure I could live without him.
I was determined not to dishonor our love by drinking or using. Somehow I would live through this event. I had no idea how I was going to do that. But there was one thing I did know – I had a choice. I could choose to drink or I could choose not to drink. Nothing could make me drink. I was totally sure of that.
The first thing I did was to contact as many people as I could think of at SMART to let them know what happened and to ask for their support. Within a couple of months, I became a volunteer at the SMART headquarters in Australia. I needed somewhere to go and I needed to be with like minded people that I could be open with about my addictive behavior. Volunteering in the office gave me a perfect opportunity to be useful to other people and to feel that I was in a safe environment. Sometimes I broke down crying while I was doing some filing. That was accepted and I was supported during those times. I will always be grateful for that.
I attended SMART face to face meetings in Sydney and that was another thing that helped me put the pieces of my life back together. I began to find a reason to live on my own without a mate. Gradually, by continuing to use the SMART tools, I’ve learned more and more about my addictive behaviors and how to live a fulfilling life without using or drinking.
I never thought I would find living so worthwhile as I do right now. Because of SMART, I have found a way to be responsible for my own actions, to be more loving, and more productive than I have ever been before. I recently completed the SMART Facilitator training and am currently volunteering as an Online Meeting Helper.
I tip my hat to you SMART Recovery with the greatest respect for all that you do. I don’t know how I could have come this far without you. I will do everything I can to let the world know about you, about your wonderful tools, your gifted trainers, facilitators and volunteers, and your philosophy that never judges, does not render me powerless and gives me the freedom to determine how I want to manage my own sobriety.
SMART Recovery, you will always have my deepest gratitude.
My Dear Smarties
Today (August 5, 2015) I celebrate ten years free of alcohol and drugs. Getting here has been filled with a few treacherous events but never once did I break my commitment to stay clean and sober. I owe a great deal to you people in this wonderful community and don’t think I could have gotten here on my own.
It took me a long long time to come to the conclusion that I had a problem with drugs and alcohol. I had been in AA many years before and after I left that organization, I was able to stumble my way through each day, functioning to some degree on jobs, going in and out of relationships, often appearing to have control over my life. But, appearances, as we all know can be very deceiving. Underneath it all, I knew something was wrong when I couldn’t get through one single night without getting high on something.
On the July 4th weekend of 2005 I decided to see if I could go for 30 days without a drink. And I got through it. I didn’t sail through it but I survived the test. On the eve of the 30th night I did what a lot of people would do, I grabbed my bottle of scotch and drank myself into oblivion. That night, lost in my numerous trips back and forth to the bathroom, I fell over and landed hard on my ankle. It was broken and so was I. I was done. I didn’t find Smart for a few days but deep down I knew I was making a choice. The door slammed shut inside me. I made a conscious decision to never drink again. And that was that.
Since that fateful morning, a great deal has transpired. I faced many harrowing experiences including putting down dogs, evacuating from bush fires, losing a ton of money on a creative project, going through a life threatening car crash, facing the loss of my dearest partner David who died suddenly from a brain hemorrhage and more recently a diagnosis of CLL, Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia. That’s a lot isn’t it? But I did it all clean and sober, not because I possess more will power than anyone else, not through mantras or prayers, although mantras and meditation do have a definite place in life. I got through it all because I made a choice to stay clean and sober no matter what. That’s it. That’s my magic formula. And it works.
There’s a saying that I’m particularly fond of. It goes like this. “But besides all that Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?” You’ve got to have a sense of humor, right? Life just happens.
The support here at Smart has been invaluable to me throughout the journey. There were times when I just clung to the website and the help that was forthcoming from so many people. And there were times when I gave what I could to people who needed it. Although I don’t spend much time here at Smart anymore, I know that the door always remains open to me and I truly appreciate the ongoing invitation to return whenever I want to.
As for the tools, there are so many and they are all very important. For me, playing the tape to the end of the story has been my most life saving tool. I’ve used it a lot over the years to remind myself of what the consequences would be if I picked up a drink again. In fact I used it a couple of days ago when that crazy little voice in my head popped up inside me and said, “So, you’ve made it through ten years, you know you can do it. How about we get completely wasted tonight to celebrate all this? Then you can get sober again in a few days and keep going.” My response was simply to chuckle and say “Really? You’ve got to be kidding, right? Not now, not ever.”
It’s wonderful to be here today, alive, clean and sober and full of joy and gratitude.
Thank you for being here for me.
Much love to all of you