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); 50882 views.
Elsie (Elsiek)

From: Elsie (Elsiek)


Feeling decidedly rubbish especially in the mornings. Shame, when I first cracked the not-drinking thing the mornings were the best, feeling well, fresh etc. 

I have been through the menopause since then. I lay awake last night and weirdly felt it might be time to 'reinvent' myself a bit. Just superficial stuff I guess. I've broadened across my back in recent years and clothes that used to fit no longer do, although I'm no heavier. We do change as we get older. I worked with the loveliest colleague of mine yesterday- she actually got the job I applied for a few years ago and I'm glad she did. She must be in her mid sixties, perhaps a little older, a grandmother now, and is so gracefully looking her age, having gone white, accepted the need for flat shoes, etc. etc. Of course I need to be me not her but I feel I am rather hanging on to youth relatively speaking. I'm unsure if it's still a good look, but it really isn't a good feeling which is far more the point. 

But god I'm lacking motivation and I also feel bad spending money and being 'wasteful' with clothes. A big eBay clearout would be an idea - even that requires motivation though. And doing some yoga or pilates might pick me up.  It's always the problem with depression, you can't find the energy to do the things that might make you feel better. 

I'm reading Gabor Mate's 'In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts.' I really enjoyed the first part of it. Now he's explaining attachment theory and its significance in understanding addiction, and whilst I'm absolutely in agreement with these ideas, it makes me feel so bad. I know some of it applies to my own young childhood, I can deal with that, but the thought of what my unconscious issues/ difficulties may have set in motion when I first became a mother are torture to me. The thought I may have passed on attachment issues, depressive tendencies, possible susceptibility to addiction is so horrific. I've read about all this before, it really isn't news so I'm just skipping through these chapters. No one can change the past, not even god. ( Love in the time of Cholera? I got that line from somewhere!)

I am interested in Mate's ideas of 'Harm Reduction.' For the addicts he deals with, total abstinence just seems totally unrealistic. What do we do with someone who tries again and again, but falls again and again, people whose social conditions are so appalling, whose childhoods were so gruelling, who have already done a lot of damage to themselves? Treat them with respect, try to encourage them to improve, give them unconditional positive regard. Mate acknowledges it's a tough gig, but he's walking the walk. 

The friend of mine who is a medical consultant in addictions is a great admirer of Mate's. When I was getting sober he said to me that he thought AA type meetings could help people decide whether they need to abstain completely or whether they can successfully cut back.  I'm really not sure about this, but I definitely think meetings of any approach need to welcome people in active addiction. Which they do of course. The same friend suggested I might have 'planned relapses' which frankly I thought ridiculous! I might 'plan' to have a relapse this weekend but when Monday comes it's highly unlikely I'd manage to keep to the plan of returning to abstinence. I have learnt that to my cost. Not that I feel the need to 'relapse' any more.  

I guess my friend is dealing with the kind of people I am reading about in Mate's book, for whom total abstinence seems totally unrealistic. 

But one thing I found at AA, and here perhaps too but less strikingly as it isn't in person, is that there definitely are many people who are now abstinent who truly thought they could never be, that it was totally unrealistic. But bit by bit, they got there. I guess it all feels much less doable when people are addicted to multiple substances and have already apparently 'lost everything.' But even then, people sometimes do turn it around. 

On the other hand, the friend I lost two years ago definitely appeared to reach the point of no return, and was treated without respect because of it, the regard afforded him was a million miles from positive or unconditional. Perhaps the principle of harm reduction could have made his last years less humiliating. I don't know. 


Apologies for not being bothered to find the acute accent for Mate's surname. 

E xx


From: cookly


Just writing in this spot randomly because I can't figure out the format. I can't get to my own posts or anyone else's. My gmail box too, is so messed up I can't read messages. .can't calm down and focus enough. 

I was sober since Oct, through winter and spring and summer. It was a fabulous, energizing, healing time. I was almost getting creative. Then the crazy thing happened. I drank..just a day in late august, then a bit more in sept, and now a daily habit I cannot stop, alone. I've connected with local health agencies including my dr, mental health, addictions. They've finally figured out they're all dealing with same issues, so they've restructured accordingly. I don't even know specifically what I'm asking for, yet they are kind and seem to understand. I'm really proud the gov't I used to work for and the community, having come together to offer much better service than when I worked with them. 

What happened ? I have a few guesses. First, I was just getting lonely and bored. But also during the spring and summer, I've been talking with my dtr and my lifelong friend Kris...lots of backporch afternoon phone chats with her. They both hammered home the message that sober times are utterly irrelevant no matter how long. There will always be mistrust. And I believe them. 

Brian (BrianB125)

From: Brian (BrianB125)


I read Hungry Ghosts about10 years ago and was really impressed by it.  Mate's idea of describing and alcoholic's desire for alcohol as a "bare want" really struck me.  That after you become an alcoholic, you have this urge for alcohol that isn't related to anything else - you aren't drinking to relieve stress, to fit in, or anything else, you have just become conditioned to want alcohol.  I don't think for alcoholics like this cutting back is an option.


Brian (BrianB125)

From: Brian (BrianB125)



Sorry to hear this, but it's really good you are actively looking for help.  Relapses happen, as you know from my history, you just have to work through them.  And being bored, yes that was always a motivation for me to drink too.  And the mistrust, I understand that too.  My wife still worries that I might start drinking again - it's not so much mistrust, she no longer sees it has a moral failing, just a vulnerability I have that she worries about.

Wishing the best for you, keep letting us know how you are doing.

And when you need help finding your old posts, I can help.


Elsie (Elsiek)

From: Elsie (Elsiek)


I'm so sorry to hear that Rae, but I understand how easily this can happen. You have relapsed before (as most of us have) but you have also come back from it before and returned to abstinence. 

Mistrust in what or whom? In ourselves? Or mistrust from other people, that however long we have been abstinent they don't truly trust that we will remain so?

As I say, I like everyone here understand how relapses happen, and we all know from experience that having been round the block too many times before that the fantasy of returning to a moderate intake of alcohol is just that- a fantasy. But abstinence also leaves a gap that sometimes feel very hard to fill and it can be tempting to entertain that fantasy. I get it. 

BUT and it is a very big BUT, I disagree that periods of abstinence- long or short- are 'utterly irrelevant.' You say yourself that it was a 'fabulous energising and healing time', you felt your creativity returning. These are deeply significant things to have learnt.  I have likened the process of getting sober and subsequently relapsing as being a bit like Snakes and Ladders. HAVE COME BACK TO EDIT A DAY LATER BECAUSE I KNOW I'VE BANGED ON ABOUT SNAKES AND LADDERS BEFORE! But I think my point is slightly different this time... It's horrible to land on a relapse snake and slither back down, but really we very very rarely go immediately back to square one. We have learnt valuable lessons as we have moved up the board,that will help us keep going and get back there. Here my Snakes and Ladders changes a bit to a game that actually has a strategic element! Getting sober is not a matter of chance, it is a matter of choice. But once we drink we relinquish that choice until we find the strength to climb the board, the mountain, whatever, again. But we at least can remember how much better things were when we didn't drink, and that will hopefully motivate us.  

I am going through a tough time right now. I am still sober but I have to say that the energising and reviving experience of fairly new sobriety seems to have got away from me. It is important to remember how nice it is to not feel like vomiting every morning, but as my sobriety becomes the norm I think I become more aware of the emptiness and depression that almost certainly led me to drink too much in the first place. My ability to exercise choice has become really really crucial. We are not always going to be on the pink fluffy cloud of early sobriety, and that is tough.  It was supposed to transform us permanently, wasn't it? So I completely get where you are coming from. But of course you know you don't want to be in daily prison of alcohol addiction. It's so much better, incalculably better to be free of it but we still have shit days even when we have been sober for ages, just not remotely as shit as if you add a bottle of wine and half a bottle of vodka into the mix. 

As they say at AA,keep coming back, talk it out as much as you need to here, we 've all known each other for a long time now, we know how it works, and I really believe we are here for each other. 

Hugs, hang on in there, you can sort this. 

Elsie xxx

Elsie (Elsiek)

From: Elsie (Elsiek)


I agree. 

Had a long chat with my husband about my current frame of mind and he suggested I might give myself a break from reading books about addiction! I have bought myself a nice crime/thriller novel that looks like a very good yarn and I'll switch off from thinking a lot about addiction for a while.  There are more than a few people who in sobriety make a full time occupation of it, writing recovery books or setting up groups. I must say some of them come across as big old attention seekers when they do this, as if they are the world experts on sobriety if they have stopped drinking for six months! But actually, good luck to them if they have the guts to put themselves out there and help others even if it means being a teensy bit smug about themselves. Jealous, moi?!!!

Trying to put my best foot forward today. I had to write a letter of complaint to my daughter's college and had been worrying about it, but I wrote a very good letter, and I was thinking that I am better when I have something constructive to do, and especially when I need to do it for someone else who needs me. I'm going to have a little look at some volunteering opportunities with Citizens Advice in my local town. 

Have a good week! 

Elsie x


From: cookly


Thank for being here Elsie and Brian. I'm  sober today and I was sober yesterday. This is tougher than when I got sober in Oct because I was so very sick then, drinking was out of the question. Not so physically ill now, just overwhelmed and extremely sad. 

See, I still tend to believe anything my friend K says..we've been close since we were in our 20's..before the marriages and births and deaths that intertwined us and formed a complicated history. She's willing to speak the ghastly truth to me and I've always believed her. It's an enormous shift in thinking to consider she's not right about what a horrible piece of shit I've always been. I understand her perspective though; she is the widow of my best friend who died due to drinking. She will never forgive either of us. The main takeaway point I hear is... yes it's wonderful for the alcoholic when she gets sober  but it makes no difference to the friends and family, the hurt and mistrust is permanent. She says, first of all, your daughter and I don't believe you've ever sobered up and it wouldn't matter anyway.

She's done some internet reading and is obsessed with step 4. She doesn't understand that it's not done with a fucking sledge hammer all at once, right away. It's a long, careful, organized step with a sponsor..not intended to be inflicted upon a friend by someone who's not alcoholic. 

I understand that alcoholics lie and make up nice fantasies but I know I have had sober periods,( sometimes years long) ..some of which she was present for. She says no, that didn't happen, and doesn't matter if it did. 

 My dtr declined to visit this summer after a few years of us getting along fine.  She said I just don't trust you. K says of course she doesn't trust you, and she never will. So, not much motivation there..and while I type this I also understand I can't stay sober to please or cajole someone else. I used to think, give it time, don't be impatient, let them see you living a clean life, but now I fear she is right, which means I need to live without her and without my dtr. It can be done, its just hard. 

I am in touch with local MH resources but I've already detoxed on my own. They do call me everyday though just to chat,make sure I'm up and dressed and eating, and that helps. I'm talking with AA women which also helps but I don't see myself fully engaging in the program again and doing the steps. I pretend it's because I'm an atheist, but really I cannot bear that 4th step again with the nagging suspicion that it's all for naught. 

I haven't read others' posts here, hard to find my way around and like K says, just too preoccupied with myself. Brian I can probably figure it out ( thanks for your offer) once my brain gets some focus and body anxiety eases. I am concerned and curious about how you're all doing. K says I have enormous empathy. . . for animals. I reminded her I was a social worker all my adult life and that empathy ended my career..We called it burnout. Hearing tragic stories day after week after month and year, finally crying in the  bathroom everyday. She said no, that's just another attention seeking behavior. 

Getting by  with help from some practical help on sunday bringing in all the house plants, the tropicals and ferns..everybody back in the house. Feels really good to have them back, especially the giant trees I like to  sleep under. Cukes and tomatoes are pretty much done. Pot harvest is planned for @ Oct 18 and that's always a fun sober get together. 


Brian (BrianB125)

From: Brian (BrianB125)



Many, maybe most, people don't understand alcoholism.  Many think of it as a moral failing, which is not surprising because that is the core idea of AA.  And sometimes it's worth remembering that our "friends" sometimes have issues of their own and may not be the most objective observers of us.  I think all you can do is to keep plugging away, finding your own way.  That doesn't mean you don't ask for help along the way, and it sounds like you are doing that.  

I brought my plants in West Virginia in last week, we've already had a couple of frosts.  Still waiting for my paw paws to get ripe.  A neighbor told me they don't ripen until there is a good frost.  Seems strange for what is basically a tropical plant, but what do  I know.

Keep letting us know how you are doing.



From: cookly


You help keep me grounded with talk of our mutual interests. The needs of the garden must come first; it grows according to season, not my moods, and that is a beautiful thing. 

 Since it's been legal in Canada for awhile, I feel comfortable talking about my crop..I have six huge pot plants; three Sativa and three Indica. None are 100 % either strain, just a higher percentage of one or the other. I check them everyday with a magnifying glass and have postponed harvest a few times; they are still not ready.  Friends are standing by ready to help and there will be a lot of sharing. The retail pot stores charge @ 140.00-160.00 per ounce, much of that is for taxes and outrageous packaging. So we share, like we do with tomatoes and beans and other garden crops. 

I didn't sleep well last night, still struggling with whether or not I should disengage from my friend and her devastating bio of my life. I refuse to abandon our friendship but I can step away and listen to more positive voices. That's the goal for today. 

Didn't take long for AA to rub me the wrong way..after some personal discussion, they turn to the Program.. I must join,and pray, and do service. I asked about service and she said.. to the program ! We give talks and distribute literature and fund the facilities. I asked about service to the individual but she didn't seem to understand. She said ' AA is my life', and that scared me ! I have no desire to join a cult. 

My brain is working better today; the horrible catch-22 is that a drinking person's brain is not right, and we only have that one brain to guide us into sobriety. I understand about wrong drinking thinking, and maybe that's why I allowed my friend to almost convince me it is hopeless. We absolutely need other people to guide us. Thank you for being here and being that other brain I need. 


From: LolaBug


Rae!!! I am just seeing these posts now and I am so very sorry for what you are enduring! I cannot believe your friend said that to you. I think it was rather cruel of her.

SOME people ARE able to forgive. My family and best friend (known her since we were 6) have forgiven me. I don't know why. Did I deserve forgiveness? Who gets to decide that? I quit AA before I finished the steps and now loosely follow Women For Sobriety and RR teachings. I never did any formal amends. My goal is to try every day to stay sober and be a good human being.

I'm sorry those around you are being so severely unforgiving. Maybe it's time to cut ties and concentrate on you being your best self. 

I put up with a lot of crap as a child and young person because good little girls smile and always try to please. I did not start drinking because I was selfish; I drank because I had no idea how to BE "selfish," how to stand up for myself, how to set boundaries. I believe this is a problem many, if not all, women alcoholics have. Jean Kirkpatrick, the founder of WFS, said, "I've never met a woman alcoholic who needed more humility."

Maybe you need a break from K and her "honesty," i.e., her opinion. As for your daughter, stay sober and keep the lines of communication open. Love her and allow her to be herself. I have a friend, one of us, whose daughter cut her off for years. They are now on good terms. Things change; miracles happen.

Bless you.

  • Edited October 10, 2020 2:23 am  by  LolaBug