Tag Archives: Alcohol

Interacting With The Opposite Sex


By Chris Alvarez

How do you find interacting with the opposite sex without alcohol?

Its strange, I used to need “Man in a Can” to be able to interact with girls. I had no confidence. I thought nothing of myself.  My ego told me drink and then maybe girls would like me, it worked for a night or two, but then it didn’t.

Alcohol was a tool I used to get over my anxiety and low self-esteem. It was useful until it wasn’t and then it just hurt me and degraded me.  The very thing I was using to help me feel better and give me “confidence” was just bringing me down. There was a point when I realized this but couldn’t stop drinking on my own.

However once I stopped drinking and began to work on myself my confidence level skyrocketed.  Now that I am sober I don’t need “man in a can”.  Sometimes I’m overconfident, to the point where I think I’m to good for anyone;  or at least to good for the girls I am purusing. grabbingbutt This causes me problems because I get frustrated when they don’t like me back.  I wonder, “why don’t you like me, any girl would be lucky to be with me and you don’t even realize it”. This is the same ego that used to tell me to drink because I wasn’t good enough for anybody.  This thinking can cause me to act in jealous irrational ways and must be stopped before it can do any harm.

I don’t like everyone and not everyone has to like me.  When I remember this, it’s easy for me to interact with the opposite sex.  Now it’s all me, no more “Man in a can”, people are just people and I have nothing to worry about.

(To be continued)

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Tips for a Sober New Year Fun Fun Fun!!!


By: Chris Alvarez

Being sober during the New Year holiday is something many addicts and alcoholics have a tough time with.  This is one of the few days a year where it is socially acceptable for tax-paying, dog-walking, pay check-cashing, grocery store going people to act like drunken fools. Here are some tips that should help any addict or alcoholic stay sober during the holiday.

Sober Parties: Please don’t laugh. Ok you can laugh. Yes they are painfully awkward and most of the time its just a bunch of people standing around drinking Red Bulls, but they offer the addict in recovery a chance to socialize in a safe environment without the temptations of substances (besides cigarettes and energy drinks). However there are ways for one to go out and stay safe and sober.shutterstock_101105338

Sober Companionship: An addict or alcoholic can go out and celebrate with “normies.”  But it is advisable to only go out with someone who has more time than you, or go out with a group of other sober people so that you can watch each other. It may sound strange and intrusive but it could save your life.

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Sober Dances: This is just as funny, ridiculous, and awkward as a sober party but can be fun as soon as everyone decides to stop being shy (don’t hold your breath this could take a LONG time). Until that happens it’s just a bunch of sober people standing around drinking energy drinks. But that can be fun…

Hope this helps, if it doesn’t then don’t do anything. New Years is just another day, stay in and watch TV or something.

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Questions from a Normie


By Chris Alvarez

In response to the feedback from our recent blog about normies, we thought we’d start answering some more common questions that crop up for alcoholics.

A Normie Asks:              

Why can’t you just have one drink every once in a while?

There are times when I wish I could have just one drink. There are times when I wish I could drink on special occasions and there are times when I wish I could have just one sip.  But this can’t be.  I’ve tried this and I couldn’t do it.  At first it might have seemed like I was capable of doing it, but in every instance, over time my tendencies to drink to excess have always come back.

No AlcoholOne drink a week might turn into two drinks a week, two drinks a week might turn into a drink a day and a drink a day might turn into a drink an hour.  This is how I drink.  I know it.  Every once in a while just can’t happen.

The same logic applies to drinking on special occasions.  I could try and only drink at weddings but then I would probably make an excuse like, “Ohh I can drink at weddings so I can drink on holidays too.” My alcoholic thinking would bastardize that logic and I would end up saying, “Ohh look, the suns out today. I can drink.” or “Look, it’s cloudy today, time to drink.” No matter what, I can’t drink.  If I have one drink I’ll find an excuse to have many more, and that just can’t happen.

What are some questions that you have gotten from normies?  Normies, what have you always wanted to ask an alcoholic?  Leave your questions in the comments below.

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The Washingtonian Society – This Is Going to be One Hell of a Fourth Step


By Ben Spielberg

Can a junkie get sober in a shooting gallery? How about a crackhead in a crack den or an alcoholic in the 19th century? Believe it or not, history has shown that alcohol use was almost three times higher in the 19th century then it is now. The Washingtonian Society was essentially the first group of people to deal with alcoholism around the mid-19th century. Beginning with just six people, Washingtonians held meetings every week that were like modern group therapy circles, telling tales of their experiences with alcohol addiction and relaying their hopes of remaining sober.

Try finding a sponsor in that mess

The search for facts around the Washingtonian [Temperance] Society is riddled with conflicting dates, contradictory values, and differing versions of the group’s demise. Sponsorship, chip taking, and the Twelve Traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous were all conceived almost 100 years post-Washingtonian times.

For as long as people have been able to distill grain, alcoholics have needed the support of one another to pursue a normal life. While the details are muddy, meetings of the Washingtonian Society were weekly and in a multitude of cities around the east coast. Much like AA today, some meetings featured a “speaker,” while others consisted of strictly shares. Also similar to today’s AA community, the Washingtonian movement seemed to fragment into different groups focusing around different issues. Today, we have Narcotics Anonymous, Sex and Love Anonymous, The Other Bar (AA for lawyers), etc.

The spiritual aspect is unclear. There are some sources that say they were strictly against God/religion of any kind, there are others which state the opposite. Anonymity was also not considered, which meant that certain “known” Washingtonians got some pretty bad publicity during a relapse.

While fragmenting groups by addiction-type works in the support groups of today, you may remember that Washingtonian’s had no uniting traditions like there are now. This brought different political influencers inside the rooms of the Washingtonian Society that led to even more fragmentation into groups of prohibition supporters (both men and women), and anti-abolitionists. As differing politics began to seep into the rooms, with no common practices to unite them like the AA meetings of today, the Washingtonian Society ultimately collapsed.

Alcoholics have the ironic potential to both bring people closer together and tear each other apart. Despite the blood alcohol level in their veins that unites them, politics, religion, and philosophy can still tear them apart. It seems that in order to provide sustaining recovery, certain unifying practices in these meetings must be in place to keep people together in their quest for sobriety despite their differences.

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The Images of Support Groups


The first time I had ever even heard of a support group was through the movie Fight Club, in which the protagonist had begun to attend Alcoholics Anonymous, as well as support groups for the terminally ill, in order to take himself out of his own head. The meetings were depicted as bleak—10-20 people gathered in a circle, beat up and torn up faces drinking stale coffee. And even though some were crying, the tears were emotionless, a saline solution dripping out of jaded and distant eyes.

For a long time, this is exactly what I thought Alcoholics Anonymous would be like. When I went to a private high school bordering the coast in Santa Monica, year after year, another girl would drop out and come back with a “sober companion,” chanting her maxims of sobriety, AA, and preaching her message to anybody who would listen. It was a confusing juxtaposition—were these support groups for the teary-eyed, forgotten cancer patients? Or were they filled with hipsters chewing gum, drinking fresh cups of Starbucks coffee, proudly bragging of their war stories before sobriety? Was this a program of gossip, of determining who was the next to get “loaded,” the next to bite the bullet and give up, or was this a program of old-timers who are one drink away from certain death?

The answer is all of the above.

My first AA meeting was in August 2009; I walked into the Marina Center early one morning, tired and apprehensive. I stepped into a world of rhythmic catchphrases, a world where coffee was currency to fit the pockets of Styrofoam cups. My friend was nodding off as the speaker spoke and time seemed to freeze as I popped Immodium, one after another, precisely at every “tick” and every other “tock.” After an hour the meeting was over and everybody stood up, held hands, and recited the serenity prayer.

I eventually began to regularly attend meetings—at first still high and then sober—and as I “kept coming back,” my perception slowly changed. I found meetings of meditation and forgiving Buddhist-based disciplines, and I found meetings full of kids in high school, only making an appearance because their parents’ dropped them off. I found meetings that I liked, meetings with one speaker and meetings with no speakers, and I found meetings filled with laughter and meetings with only earth-shattering silence.

What I realize now is that Alcoholics Anonymous can be whatever I choose to make it. Sobriety doesn’t have to look like a stereotypical snapshot; it can look like whatever you want it to be.

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The Poison Points to a Remedy


A chimpanzee brain at the Science Museum London

Image via Wikipedia

By Jaron Zanerhaft

Researchers at UT Austin have just found something that, without proper perspective, could send many of my friends here back on the bottle: alcohol can actually help you learn.  Not in the conventional sense, of course.  Details, facts, concepts—all of the memory associated with these thing is still inhibited by alcohol consumption.  It’s the subconscious memory that may be enhanced.  Regular ethanol use increases plasticity in the brain, specifically in dopamine neurons.  According to the research team, these effects linger for about a week after drinking.

Still, many good things for the recovery community could come from this study.  Basically, this study gave definitive neurological proof of the phenomenon we know as “euphoric recall.”  We know that the imbibed brain shoots off dopamine, and that is responsible for the rewarding feeling.  Now we know that the ethanol compounds relax your synapses, conditioning you to grow unnaturally comfortable with your routine while drinking.  Since this study has found what part of the brain makes you miss what you never really enjoyed, a method is on the horizon, maybe not to eliminate euphoric recall, but at least to weaken the irrational desire to return to a drunken state.

While I understand that I can condition myself easier using alcohol, I am beginning to realize the value of establishing healthy lifelong habits for myself.  And the truth is, without alcohol, I value my routines even more.  I feel like I have achieved my routines and therefore deserve the growth I get from them.  Yes, alcohol could make getting into habits an easier process, but what kinds of habits ensue?

Really, this study only confirmed what we already know: the more we drink, the easier it gets to do the things we do when we drink.  Would you rather live your routines with disciplined persistence or with automatic, conditioned ease?  While you must make the choice to actively live and participate in your life, it is still a choice.

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Mandatory Fun in Rehab… Is That a Joke?


By Ben Spielberg

My first few weeks in Beit T’Shuvah I was very disenchanted with everything going on. I wasn’t sure that I wanted to be in rehab, I had nothing but contempt for Alcoholics Anonymous and I couldn’t quite grasp why everyone around me seemed so happy, dancing and smiling all the time. So I wanted to leave. In fact, I tried to leave… and then again… and again. I packed up my belongings maybe ten times in the first week I lived here. However, I kept talking to other residents and they would convince me to stay for maybe a few more hours, or at least another day. Then came my first Sunday as a resident. A counselor came up to me and asked if I wanted to come to the movies. Yeah, like I had any money. “No, no, the house pays for it,” the counselor said.

So I went to the movies in a van full of about 15 other new Beit T’Shuvah residents. I had barely been outside in almost a week and I was so excited I couldn’t sit still—the surge of energy was almost overwhelming. While I was only outside of the house for a few hours, I realized that I hadn’t thought about getting loaded for the first time in 6 years. It was at this moment that I began to understand, in fact, yearn for sobriety. During the van ride home we all cracked jokes and there was a lot of laughter on everyone’s part. Until then, I had been under the assumption that recovery and sobriety in general, was completely monotonous and utterly boring.

It was a slow process and that day was the beginning for me. It was hard to recognize that a lot of what I assumed of the world was actually wrong—for instance, I can have more fun in sobriety than when drunk or high! This is the reason I decided to open up rather than pack up, this is the reason I stayed at Beit T’Shuvah. I realized I didn’t need to have alcohol, a line, a joint, or a needle to have a good time. Good quality laughter and an open mind were the beginning of a process that has inevitably helped me feel good about myself. And before I knew it, I became one of those residents smiling, dancing and happy most of the time.

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