LifeRing Recovery

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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.

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Going Forward (with clarity)   Sobriety/Recovery Journals

Started 2/16/14 by Elsie (Elsiek); 59038 views.

From: LolaBug


Good morning, all! I've been lurking, but haven't posted in quite some time. Am thinking about starting a recovery journal of my own on here.

Brian, was the book you read called "Influenza"? Many years ago I read a book about the 1918/1919 pandemic and I think that was the title. I'd love to reread it now.

Brian (BrianB125)

From: Brian (BrianB125)



Starting a Journal is a great idea.

The book I read was "Flu" by Gina Kolata.  There are quite a few books out there on the flu, so there are lots to choose from.



From: LolaBug


Thanks; I'm going to look that up. Going to check when my town library will be open again. 

Elsie (Elsiek)

From: Elsie (Elsiek)


Feeling pretty low. 

a) We will never have peace on earth.

b) My dog keeps barking at night and I'm sleep deprived.

Of course I also have a lot to be grateful for but when I lie awake at night I give myself such a hard time. 

Just upset my daughter who now probably thinks I'm a racist because I failed to understand how everyone cutting online college classes for Blackout Tuesday would make a difference. It is an important show of solidarity, of course, and good that young people are motivated to make a stand. I just hadn't quite twigged what was happening. I have nothing to cut today. It doesn't mean I don't care. 

E x


From: MaryLouise3


Hi E, it's good your daughter feels so passionate about showing solidarity right now -- the pragmatic or effective value of many gestures and actions  is another issue altogether, isn't it? And I suspect many more [scary, horrible etc] things need to happen before there is any meaningful change.

I think of 3am as My Hour of Self-Loathing Before Dawn, if that is of any comfort.


Elsie (Elsiek)

From: Elsie (Elsiek)


Thanks Mary

Been giving myself a hard time all day today as well. Sometimes I feel as if I am completely talentless- doing weddings usually gives me a boost as it is one thing I can do really well. 

The lockdown is definitely getting to me now.

Hope you are doing ok 


Elsie (Elsiek)

From: Elsie (Elsiek)


Blimey, it's ages since I checked in with my own journal. 

What a strange time. The first bit of lockdown seemed to drag interminably, then everything speeded up somehow, and now here we are on the brink of a new term for my kids. Kids, ha! Now 21 and 19. 

Weddings have started up again but they are strange little events what with social distancing, and from now on with masks for everyone apart from the celebrant and the couple. But we still have weddings happening. I reckon I'd want to postpone, but I guess the problem is that no one knows when we will be able to get back to normal. 

The news from the doctor in the house is that for now the virus seems to have got a bit less virulent in many places in that although there are more cases it's because of more testing- and there are far fewer serious cases.  It has been weeks since his hospital had any covid inpatients.  He is in Coventry, however in contrast our other close city is Leicester where there have been far  more cases, and an extended lockdown.  It's thought to be linked to multi generational households plus some dodgy textiles factories running on sweated labour- and mainly centred on the BAME communities.  Hopefully Covid will in the long term have some positive effect in eliminating these illegal employers operating in unsafe conditions with underpaid and unprotected workers.  It's been a problem for a long time, and has long been overlooked. 

Not drinking. Goodness, it's really quite easy at the moment. My problem is the level of despair I feel at my son and daughter's drinking. They are probably completely typical in their peer groups, but I'm horrified by it and can hardly believe that I put myself through the effect of excessive alcohol consumption for so long.  I have a particular fear of vomiting. I was sick far too many times and the thought that I tolerated something I loathe for so long  is hard to comprehend now. I try not to be too critical of my kids, just give them sensible advice about moderation (which they then mostly ignore. Just like I used to.) The one positive is that they both say they don't drink on nights before work or college. I've witnessed them in holiday mode after the easing of lockdown which may be why it seems excessive. All I can say is that I have at least shown them that if there is a problem with the booze, it can be sorted. 

Hope this finds everyone well

Elsie xx


From: LolaBug


Elsie, I have four adult daughters and they all drink. I don't like it, either. But they're fully adults (youngest is 27) so I keep my mouth shut and try to lead by example.

Elsie (Elsiek)

From: Elsie (Elsiek)


It's all we can do Lola. 

I don't know how to motivate myself.  I experience a lot of fear in my everyday life. Fear of all kinds of things but essentially it boils down to one thing- fear of getting things wrong. 

I have many things to say and especially to write, but the minute I allow myself to feel that some of those things might actually be important or worth saying, suddenly I lose confidence. It's weird, a fear of not necessarily getting it wrong, almost a fear of getting it right. 

I heard Marian Keyes read her account of having a serious drink problem and then getting sober at 30. She has clearly gone on to really make something of herself, which is great, but I'm left thinking, shit, I'm nearly twice the age she was when she got sober, it ain't so easy.  And partly I think- who on earth would be interested in my story? It just isn't as dramatic as hers, and certainly doesn't have the happy ending of success as a novelist!

However, I have had a couple of things recently that have made me think I do have some talent at expression and I could do with overcoming my fears.  I got into a chat on Facebook about a picture of George Best, with the well known quote- I spent my money on booze and women, the rest I squandered. Or words to that effect. The subsequent discussion was actually interesting, and a few stories of people's own issues or family issues emerged. I can't remember exactly what I wrote without looking it up, but I remember that someone who had developed a drink problem following an adulthood trauma wrote to me 'For what it's worth, I find your words very inspiring.' It was something along the lines of anyone being vulnerable to addiction given very unfortunate circumstances, and that turning to the booze is not actually that unusual. It was to do with the idea of 'alcoholic' as opposed to 'normal' people/drinkers, that I think it is not  a helpful distinction, that i certainly do not want to feel like I'm still an alcoholic even though I no longer drink.( Which is the whole AA schtick I get annoyed by. Oh yes, as well as GOD  meaning Good Orderly Direction.  Bollocks it does.) That we do not think someone who used to smoke continues to be a smoker for life- they have earned the right to be a non-smoker, because that is what they are. 

I think it is so important to experience the feeling of freedom that overcoming an addiction gives us. Of course it is sometimes a challenge, I might miss drinking sometimes, but I also miss being 25 sometimes. The man who responded to me saying my words were inspiring (for what it's worth- it's worth a lot to me, and I thanked him) seemed from what I could make out to be currently struggling. I thought about messaging him but I didn't feel comfortable with it.  

Freedom, I say. I really really felt that for quite a long time, and I can remind myself of that feeling if I reflect on how awful I felt when drinking far too much. But other challenges come in, don't they? I'm engaged in a search for meaning I suppose.  My children don't need me nearly so much, I thank goodness I have my menagerie to keep me focused in the here and now. Building a new house is truly terrifying though.  If it were just my plan to do so I would have aborted the mission by now, but my husband is dead set on it. It's as I said about the roof elsewhere, I can't stand having to deal with blokish blokes and matters I'm not at all confident about. And I worry about the cats living in close proximity to a building site. With access to the road which they don't usually have. Worry worry. 

The other positive thing that happened was an ex student of mine got in touch and told me she had been inspired by me to become an English teacher. She has survived as one much longer than I did. The thing that really touched me was when she said that when I read the first page of Pride and Prejudice aloud in her first lesson, it was like a portal to another dimension being opened for her. Blimey!  When I did my term and a bit as a teaching assistant- and they didn't like me, and thought I encouraged bad behaviour in the kids, and I resigned- I was desperately frustrated by the other TA who was reading a novel chapter by chapter to the class. God she was SO BORING. I wanted to go and wrest the bloody book off her and read it with some feeling! I had told them in my interview that reading aloud was a very particular strength of mine. Did they utilise it? Not once. And when they said 'bad behaviour' what I would think I was encouraging was a bit of bloody SPARK. Different perspectives I guess, and that school clearly didn't really go in for encouraging spark. As you may surmise, I'm angry about it. Because the criticisms that came my way really decimated my self-esteem. Some of the criticism was fair- I don't enjoy imposing control on other people, and that is a problem in primary teaching. But it is also to do with being frustrated in using the things I used to use to get classes on board: humour, liveliness, valuing what the children themselves offer even if it's surprising and not on the curriculum. 

Well writing this has made me feel even more worked up that I did when I started!  That is something I notice when I write with feeling- it brings an uncomfortable level of turmoil. it's easier not to feel that turmoil. 

I hope this finds everyone well with a good week under your belts. Have a good weekend, and thank you for this forum. It helps me so much xx

Elsie (Elsiek)

From: Elsie (Elsiek)


Oh yes. Only yesterday I got seven hundred and something likes for a comment I made about a Guardian article. I suspect I do have something of a way with words.