LifeRing Recovery: a self-help alternative for recovery from alcoholism and other chemical dependency. Group support for abstinence from alcohol and “drugs” by empowering the sober self within you. Completely secular: no prayers, Higher Powers or Steps.
What a wonderful post, Elsie! Thank you! I'm going to have to read it again to absorb everything, but what jumped out at me is that I did not know Caroline Knapp wrote another book. I read Drinking years ago, when I first got sober, and I loved it. I was so sad when I heard that she had died.
I will have to look for the other book because I would love to know her thoughts on food. Having been in the recovery community for a long time, I know food and alcohol are two sides of the same coin, especially for women. In fact, it's not uncommon for women who have had gastric bypass surgery to become alcoholics.
Obviously there are underlying issues.
I don't follow the program of AA (I do Women For Sobriety) but I found a great Zoom meeting that runs 24/7. Like any good alcoholic, I'm hooked on it. If you're interested, it's called the 319, because it was started on March 19th of last year. I'm "Erica in Massachusetts" there (Lola is my granddog's name. She's a Bug-- Pug/Boston Terrier mix.)
Another anniversary, now 14 years sober and glad of it.
We've had a tough time during the pandemic in South Africa but it has also been a very interesting social experiment and one I didn't ever expect to live through. In March last year, we went into the strictest militarised lockdown in the world with no alcohol or nicotine sales allowed. Some people tried to buy blackmarket alcohol and were arrested and sent to prison, others began brewing pineapple beer or home made cider, but most just stayed sober and many found they preferred that. Over public holidays and Christmas, emergency casualty wards were empty because so much lawless behaviour in a society like ours is fuelled by substance abuse. Many people, casual drinkers who had never thought of themselves as having any problem with alcohol went through mild withdrawal symptoms and that changed attitudes towards dependence and addiction. People discovered that they could go out to eat at socially distanced outdoor restaurant areas without having to drink with meals, and the debates over living differently and substance-free activities were all over our social media. The rules have been slightly relaxed but alcohol is only available in small quantities and the majority of people don't bother -- the old tolerance of binge drinking in pubs has gone. From next year education in schools and workplaces will focus on living free of addictive substances, even if you don't think you have a problem. Not moralistic but an awareness that alcohol is not a harmless life-enhancer and impacts too negatively on our society.
Although I read here each week, I don't post that often (computer problems) but remain grateful as ever to LifeRing for helping me stay sober over the years. In the last years of drinking I felt my life had dwindled away to a daily battle of drink/don't drink (I usually lost), that inwardly divided self always at war with itself, living in a kind of tunnel vision with nothing to look forward to except more of the same obliviousness. In early sobriety I realised I needed to get what I called 'the bigger picture' beyond the short-term immediate gratification and each day sober meant I could wake up to a another day and then the hope of another week or month or year, the hope of building a more spacious and happier long-term future. In this last year of lockdown, I've gone back to that again, that there's a great wide world out beyond these walls and we will be able to reconnect and resume fuller lives again one of these days. Nothing learned in recovery is ever wasted!
Many thanks and stay safe, friends