Tag Archives: sobriety

Attention Please!!!!


By Chris Alvarez

Why do all the “deadbeats”, the people that disappoint us, the people that fall get so much attention? And the winners, the people that succeed, those who try so hard to do the next right thing get little to no attention for their actions?  In the “real world” this isn’t the case but in the world of recovery it’s the sad truth.

Do people root for the underdog or do they look at them as a way of seeing how much better off they are. Do they see a part of themselves in that person who just cant seem to do anything right? But the people, who do succeed, the ones doing the right thing, are they less worthy of attention? Shouldn’t they receive some praise for their success?  The incredibly successful ones, the top one percent of the top one percent do get attention but that’s such a tiny number of people.

a little attention please

a little attention please

Now I guess being awarded or acknowledged for doing the right thing isn’t needed; doing the right thing should be reward enough, but is giving attention to those who do “bad shit” for attention the “right” thing to do? Probably not, but most people do it anyways.

I try not to give into those who crave attention and act out in all the wrong ways. I see myself as a beacon of light for those in the dark. I never venture into the dark, I let those in the dark see the light and come to me. Am I doing the right thing? Who knows we all see life through a different lens. Let us know what you think about this post and remember giving someone attention might send the wrong message but… it might send the right one too.

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Filed under 12-Steps, addiction, Alcoholics Anonymous, Beit T'Shuvah, Community, Dating, Gratitude, Sobriety, Spirituality, Uncategorized

Israel in The Winter


By David Gole

Last Friday I arrived at LAX, still stunned from one of the most memorable experiences I have ever had – a sober birthright trip. Around October, my counselor asked me if I had ever been to Israel before on an organized trip to which I replied “Yes I have been there 3 times, but never on an organized trip.” When she asked me if I wanted to go on a sober birthright trip, I had to think about it for a minute. A “sober” birthright trip, is that even Kosher? At first, the thought of a bunch of recovering addicts and alcohols traveling the Promised Land sounded like either a lot of fun or a recipe for disaster. Being the optimist that I am, I willingly took the plunge into the unknown.littledavyisraelblg

When we arrived in Tel Aviv, everything I experienced 7 years before started coming back to me. Many of the things I had seen were just how I remembered and experienced them; only last time I did not lose my luggage. We then drove from Ben Gurion Airport up to the Golan Heights where we stayed for three nights. Though I had my skepticism about being with people in recovery in Israel, it quickly disappeared when everyone seemed to bond almost immediately as we got to look out onto Syria and hiked around Gamla. On the way to Tzfat, 4 Israelis joined our trip and so did my luggage. Like we embraced each other on that first day, we welcomed the Israelis with open arms and open hearts. After spending 3 days in the north, we ventured on our tour bus down to the holy city of Jerusalem.

The memories of Jerusalem before I went consisted of three things – Ice Cream, Candy, and Jewish mumbo jumbo that I was too young to identify with. This time, now that I am older and have a better understanding of what’s going on around me, I was able to appreciate the Jewish side of Jerusalem a lot more. Going to the Western Wall on Friday night with 50,000 Jews singing and dancing followed by dinner over looking the wall was an incredible experience. Saturday night, we went to Ben Yehuda Street for a little sober fun and danced everywhere. On our last day in Jerusalem we went to Yad Vashem where the fellowship of our group really stood out as everyone expressed their compassion for each other. After that we went to the marketplace and bargained with our Israeli friends. Exhausted from an emotional day, we all went to sleep very satisfied with our purchases and the money we saved.

The next day was our last day with the Israelis and we tried to enjoy ourselves as much as possible. We went to Herzliya where we visited a recovery center called Matrix. It was nice to see people with less time because it reminds me of where I was when I started this process and it shows them that it is possible to string time together. Proceeding our time with the residents of Matrix Recovery Center, it was time to say our goodbyes to our Israeli friends, where everyone was sad to see them leave.

New Year’s Eve in Netanya was just not the same without our Israeli friends, but that didn’t keep us down for the duration of the trip. New Year’s Day we hit Tel Aviv and Yafo with full force. Visiting Independence Hall was eventful for me because after seeing learning about what I had seen in Poland, the declaration of Israel’s Independence was very important for Jews everywhere. We did not spend the night in Tel Aviv; instead we drove south to a Bedouin Camp in the Negev Desert and spent the night with everyone in a tent.

The night in the Bedouin Tent was rough. It was cold, sandy and almost everyone woke up with some type of sickness. Early that morning we rode camels around the Negev and then drove to Masada. Even though everyone that was sick was given the option to take the tram, the resilient nature of recovering addicts drove most of us to tough it out and hike the mountain. After hitting the major landmarks in the Negev like the Dead Sea and Ein Gedi, we spent our last night 20 minutes outside of Jerusalem at a kibbutz.

On the final day of the trip, we went back to Jerusalem to celebrate bar and bat mitzvahs and have some quality time in the old city. The final goodbyes were very emotional, but our Israelis friends, dressed in animal costumes, surprised us at the airport. All in all, the experience I had on birthright with people that deal with the daily struggles of addiction was one for the ages. It was amazing how quickly these friendships blossomed and how we were able to show the Israelis on our trip that although we are not a normal birthright trip, we can still have fun without waking up every morning with a hangover. I can honestly say that this was one of the most influential moments in my life and strongly encourage recovering alcoholics and addicts to go on a sober birthright trip.

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Questions From a Normie #5


By Chris Alvarez

What Do You Do in Those Meetings?

“Those” meetings also know as AA meetings or 12 step meetings are private. So for me to tell you what exactly what happens in them would be wrong. However I can give you an overview, and touch on the reasons why we do what we do.

Basically AA meetings are places where people who want to stop drinking or using can go to get help. They are also a great way for those who have stopped drinking to maintain their sobriety and serenity. In the meetings people  come in and share their experience strength and hope.  Cakes and chips are given to celebrate and acknowledge milestones in sobriety and show newcomers that it is possible to stay sober.

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A meeting is a place where you can speak your mind and ask for help. It is a therapeutic community of people whose only care is that you stay sober and live well.  Over the past 22 months I have experienced more love and support in these meetings than I ever thought was possible.

The knowledge and support that was so freely given to me must be given away if I wish to keep anything I have received.  All I have to say is that meetings are awesome and if you or anyone you know needs help just hit a meeting and there will be many people willing to help. Or just leave a comment and I’ll do my best to answer any questions you have.

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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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I Feel Nothing


By: Chris Alvarez      

Yesterday one of my cousins died and I feel nothing. I don’t feel sad and I don’t feel depressed. I just don’t know how.

However I do know how to feel nothing. Well, I know how to feel this physical manifestation (being continuously out of breath like being punched in the stomach) of what I think is grief.

Luckily I can feel this “grief” and be sober.  This isn’t the first death I have experienced in my 11 months of sobriety it’s the third.  It’s strange what sobriety does to you.  If I were still drinking I would “appear” to feel so much more.  I would cry, I would mope, and I would act out.  But the amazing thing about sobriety is that I am exactly where I am supposed to be and if it means not expressing my feelings then that’s ok. I can accept my inability to express and feel my feelings.

The acceptance of something I cannot change is a big part of sobriety and dealing with grief. Mortality is something that cannot be changed. As a sober person I am forced to accept that.  Just because I can’t feel my feelings doesn’t mean I’m a bad person. It just means that I am human and have to eventually learn to deal with them.

Right now I deal with grief by not feeling. You might be different but that’s the beauty of being human.  We are all unique and we deal with life in our own different ways. Feelings don’t make you who you are. And that’s the beauty of being human.

If you have any stories about dealing with grief let us know.

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Questions From a Normie #4


By Chris Alvarez

What is a sponsor?

A sponsor isn’t a friend. A sponsor isn’t a therapist. A sponsor isn’t a parent. A sponsor is something more. A sponsor is someone who has something you want.  They help those who desire sobriety regain a life worth living by taking them through the twelve steps.

Well… that’s what they are supposed to do but most of the time they end up doing a lot more.

Although a sponsor is supposed to be a guide and help keep their sponsees on a path of sobriety, the sponsee ends up helping the sponsor more than they will ever know. It’s been my experience that when I let someone help me, it also helps them.

A sponsor ends up becoming so close to their sponsees that secrets cease to exist.  They make their sponsees do things that they don’t want to do, they take sponsees out of their comfort zones and help them overcome their fears.

Ultimately all I can surely say is that my sponsor has helped make me the person I am today; and by sponsoring someone else I learn how to stay sober, or as Peter F. Drucker said, “No one learns as much about a subject as one who is forced to teach it.”

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Questions From A Normie #3


By Chris Alvarez

                        Can you still go out to clubs and bars?

Going out to clubs and bars was something I really enjoyed.  It was a time when I could let loose, act crazy and hit on girls.  99.9% of the time I had to be drunk to do it.  However, now I can act crazy without being drunk, can have fun while being sober, and can have enough self-confidence to approach women and accept being shot down. 

That’s how I operate now.  Nevertheless the ability to go out to bars and clubs can differ from person to person.  Some people can go out, while others can’t.  It all depends on what triggers you have and how well you deal with them.  I would never say to someone that has one week sober that they are ok to go to a bar, I wasn’t ok to go out to clubs and bars at one week sober either.  For many of us though, time has a way of helping you cope.

No matter how much sober time you accumulate, some people will never feel 100% comfortable with going to these places. Those people come to accept that fact and live perfectly happy lives.

So to answer the question; I can go to clubs and bars as long as I stay focused and know that I can’t drink and don’t need a drink either.

If you are a “normie” and would like to know more leave a comment and I will answer any questions you have.

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