O God of all comfort and mercies, Who helps us in a time of need, we humbly ask You to behold, visit and relieve those who have relapsed for whom are prayers are desired. Look upon them with the eyes of Your Mercy; comfort them with a sense of Your goodness; preserve them from the temptations of their addiction; and give them patience under their affliction. In Your time, restore them to a way of life and physical, mental and spiritual health. And help them we pray to listen, believe and do Your will.Continue Reading...
By Twinkle Powers
Drunken hook-ups are easy, but finding a boyfriend, that’s a total
test of sobriety. You know what I mean?
Hi, I’m Twinkle and I’m an alcoholic. I’m in my 10th year of sobriety. I have a sponsor. I go to four meetings a week. I attempt to practice the principals in all my affairs. Soooo, dating.
Dating has been quite an adventure. When I was drinking, I never had a boyfriend. Well, there was one time I kind of did. I was friends with this gay man, Brad, who worked at the Vegan Bakery. I hung out there a lot. He told me there were rats in the basement and rat shit in the food. I ate it anyway.
Tangent: At one point I was dating this guy Tim I met there who had long blond hair and was skinny and beautiful. He was a straight edge, vegan minimalist. I thought since he didn’t use, it would help me not use. He was impotent. I told Brad, and Brad said that Tim didn’t eat enough fat, and that was why he was impotent, so Brad would sneak flax oil into Tim’s smoothies to help me. It didn’t work. After two months with Tim, something went awry. We were out at a Piscatorial establishment and I decided to have some fish. I had been newly non-vegetarian at that point because I was too spacey with the drugs and being a vegetarian. I somehow found out that eating meat might help me stop being so spacey. I didn’t think that maybe stopping smoking pot all day would also help. Anyway, it was the first time I had eating meat around Tim (well it was fish) and he wouldn’t kiss me cause he was so grossed out that I had eaten it. He broke up with me cause I ate that fish. Okay, tangent over.
So Brad. After a while of Brad and I growing closer—remember I only knew of him as a gay man—he revealed he was attracted to me. He was really cute, so I was like, okay. One night he was over, and before we went to sleep he asked if I would be his girlfriend. I never had a boyfriend before, so this was a real opportunity to do something I felt ashamed I had never been able to do. I said, “Well, can I date other people?” And he said, “Okay, but you have to be my main squeeze.” I said I would do it. We went to sleep and I had a terrible time sleeping. I’ve had a lot of trouble sleeping in the same bed as people. I felt so angry and tired that I couldn’t sleep that night. In the morning I told him that we needed to break up. He was like, okay. He was mellow. So, he was my first boyfriend. It lasted about nine hours. That was when I was about 22.
I didn’t have my next boyfriend till I was in my, shoot, maybe my fourth or fifth year of sobriety. This kid was 10 years younger than me. He was hot, fresh, and young. I didn’t really see him that often. I felt like it was a practice boyfriend. It’s actually hard to remember, but I think our conversations mostly annoyed me. I’m sure we had some fun times together, but can’t think of them right now. That lasted eight months. I just felt so proud of myself that I had my first real boyfriend. Yes, he was driving me crazy by the end of it, but whatever.
Oh, let’s back track for a minute. So, when I was using, I had a lot of one-night stands. I remember one night when I dressed up slutty and went to this bar called The Slipper Room. I met the bouncer. He wasn’t hot, but I wanted to get laid. I waited till everyone went home and we were making out in one of the booths. Of course I was drunk. We almost had sex, but I was like, this guy is fat and gross, so we just did other stuff.
When I was in my first year of sobriety I had a fair amount of casual sex because I was so used to it. People warned me that I would feel emotional about it. They said avoid emotional entanglements, but I didn’t feel emotional. I was numb or I just felt generally crazy, like I was on acid.
I didn’t really “thaw out” till my second year. My second year I cried every day. I was so lonely. I was kind of dating someone from the program who was unavailable and was very emotionally dependent on him. It was painful.
In my third year something really amazing happened. I got a job that involved being on the road for a month. Before that, I wasn’t really working, just living off savings that I was terrified of blowing through, and winding up destitute. At least I always eased my fears by the thought that maybe I could join a commune or something if things got really bad. So, I was on this job and I met a guy who was a total cocky heartthrob. He had a girlfriend back in his country. Okay, this is gross, but he had herpes on his mouth. I don’t know what is wrong with me, but I rationalized that it had scabbed so much that it wouldn’t be contagious. Not only did we kiss, but he also went down on me, down there! I was scared of getting herpes, but I did it anyway. Also we had sex. (Somehow, I didn’t contract herpes.)
When I told my roommate about it, she made me feel bad. She said, how would you feel if you were the girlfriend. She showed me how I was harming both of them. I had never thought of it that way. She wasn’t even in the program. She was just a good person with morals. Everything I’ve learned about how to be a good person has come from people telling me or showing me. I did not get to learn these things from my family, because that’s just not how things went for me. So, I’ve been a slow learner, but grateful to be coming along.
Anyway, back to the story. So, the years moved on, and in my sixth year or so I attained my second boyfriend. At first I thought he was gay and that we were just hanging out as friends, because he was very feminine and artistic and wore black turtlenecks. He also mentioned that in high school he was part of something called Gay/Straight Alliance. But I was just hoping he might be straight and it turned out he was.
The first few months were really fun. He was very involved in lots of fun activities and at that point in my sobriety, I was a little stuck and depressed, and not doing that many fun activities. I actually met him at my singing group, which was one of the only fun things I did. So, we went hiking, and went to his church group, even though I’m Jewish. I was just glad to be out of my self-obsession. I became very close with his family. So, I still had my issue of not being able to sleep in the bed, so I would make him sleep on the floor. I was a jerk. I realized I didn’t really like him, I just liked his family and all the fun activities we did.
So, to make a long story short, a year ago I met the man of my dreams. We get along so well. It’s the first time it just feels easy and right. We live together and have talked about marriage and kids. To sum up, dating has been quite a roller coaster, but I stuck it out, and am so grateful to be with this amazing, funny, smart, successful, generous, fun, supportive man.
Twinkle Powers is a sober girl living in a town in the USA.
By Rabbi Kerry Olitzky
Melodies I weave, songs I sweetly sing; longing for your presence, to you I learn to cling. – Anim Zemirot
This is what I try to do in prayer. I take the words that have been given to me by those who came before and weave them into my own, hoping that the melody I weave in my heart-this love song with the Divine-brings me closer to the Power of the Universe. Prayer books are filled with such melodies. I need only sing them and claim them as my own. In singing them, they become mine.
I long for God’s presence in my life. Whether I am willing or comfortable enough to admit it, I really do. Don’t we all? Such recognition for me adds meaning and purpose to my life. This is a difficult step in spiritual renewal. I wasn’t always comfortable with such talk. I got used to it by doing it and accepting the Sunlight of the Spirit. Sometimes I am afraid by accepting that Power in my life I may lose self. The truth was that when I accepted the Spirit, I regained my life.
How splendid is your light, which worlds do reflect.
My soul is worn for Your love’s delight.
Please good God, do heal her, and show to her Your face.
So my soul can see You and bathe in Your Peace. There she will find strength and healing in this sight; Her joy will be complete, then Eternal her delight. A Prayer-Yedid Nefesh
How fair are your tents, O Jacob, Your dwellings, O Israel!
By Rabbi Kerry Olitzky
This is the famous beginning of Balaam’s third blessing. It has become the introductory Morning Prayer, said upon entering a place of worship. Although the comment was a spontaneous expression of admiration at the sight of the Israeli encampment-a holy people living in peace-it also provides us with an insight to how serenity can be achieved in life.
“Tents” are a symbol for one’s interior space. Or, how things are within us? How we really feel? “Dwelling” similarly can be understood as our place in life. Are we satisfied with where we are? Are we free of resentment and envy of others? Are we aware of our fears? Or do we continue to let then occupy space in our minds? If we are satisfied, then we are enjoying peace and are feeling the blessings of life. But, If we are not-and are not willing to make an effort to let go of anger, fear, guilt, hate and other emotional and spiritual pain, then all that our Higher Power offers us in blessings will just be hollow. We will not be ready to receive them.
One of the greatest blessings of spiritual renewal is the discovery that what we focus on affects the way we feel. There is an abundance of blessings in our life, if we are ready for them. Let’s not be shortchanged because we don’t get everything we want, lets appreciate what we do get and be grateful for the things we don’t want and don’t get.
Blessings are the path of our journey home.
Pray only in a room with windows. Don’t shut yourself off from the outside world.
Dr. Harry Tiebout
Characteristic of the so- called typical alcoholic is a narcissistic egocentric core, dominated by feelings of omnipotence, intent on maintaining at all costs its inner integrity.
The outlines of a common character structure among problem drinkers and that the best terms he could find for the group of qualities noted was “defiant individuality” and “grandiosity.”
In my opinion, those words were accurately chosen. Inwardly the alcoholic brooks no control from man or God. He, the alcoholic, is and must be master of his destiny. He will fight to the end to preserve that positionContinue Reading...
Help us make this group a haven of strength and comfort, giving to all who seek help here the beauty and friendliness of peace, which shall be as a shield against temptation of all kinds and against loneliness and despair.
Bless those who go forth from this room to fight the fight, to know suffering, and bless those who come here to find a better way, those who must readjust themselves to face life once more.Continue Reading...
Reposted From Recovery Today – http://sobamalibu.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Recovery-Today_June-2015.pdf
Many experts agree the “12 Step” meeting is either the heart, the corner stone or, at minimum, a main “ingredient” necessary in breaking the cycle of addiction.
If you’ve ever been around someone new or perhaps at least somewhat resistant to treatment, there’s a good chance you’ve heard questions like these: “Why?”, “Why do we have meetings?”, “Do I have to go?” “Can’t I do treatment and get sober without them?”
Depending on which expert you’d ask, the answers may be different; traditional “Evidence Based” recovery experts certainly evangelize meetings as one of the most important processes in an individual’s successful recovery. Although there are no absolutes, the overwhelming evidence leads to this simple truth. They’re right; simply put,”12 Step Meetings work”.
But where did this concept come from? That is, having group support on the path to sobriety, and what is it that has made this critical?
The 12 Step Program is ideally suited to assist individuals in recovery by providing a set of guiding principles that focus on making a deeper spiritual connection and following a path of recovery.
All participating members adhere to these principals, in a non-judgmental manner and, as a result, every member understands they’re not “alone”.
In contrast, isolation tends to speak to the individual telling them what they’re going through is unique, that no one can relate or understand, there is no one to talk to and, … they’re all alone. This leads to thoughts of HOPELESSNESS, followed of course by their drinking or drug use again; a vicious cycle, ever repeating itself, each time growing heavier and taking more and more of the life of it’s victim.
The meeting itself is the remedy to this one facet of the cunning disease of addiction. Meeting members courageously who share their thoughts and experiences, shedding light from individual to individual that they are not alone, the thoughts they’ve had are not unique and by connecting with those further down the recovery path, one emotion is transferred; confidence. Confidence intertwined with hope.
Although originally developed and started in 1935 by two men in recovery from alcoholism themselves, the method and the principles have been adapted to a wide range of different specific types of recovery. There are now 12 Step programs which are specialized for those in recovery from many different addictions including:
• Sex/Pornography • Work
With the entire specialized 12 Step programs today; the group and meetings are still at the center of each and every program. While there may be specific people employed by the group, it is those in recovery who use the 12 steps to keep the groups going and to provide continual support for those within communities struggling with addiction. The group self-guides through traditions, creates relationships, commitments and provides hope and the evidence of long term successful lives of sobriety.
￼￼￼What’s the Point of a 12 Step Meeting?￼
￼The group is there to serve the members, to provide support, and fellowship. There is also guidance through sponsors, or those more experienced in recovery and leading a life free from addiction.
In-person meetings are typically open to the public. They start with the reading of the Preamble, the Serenity Prayer, and introductory statements about the program, the 12 Steps, and the 12 Traditions as well as The Promise. Depending on the type of meeting, a specific Step may be introduced and discussed, or the group may develop the topic, and then people are encouraged to share their story.
Typically after the formal meeting, members can socialize and connect directly with each other. There is also a book provided to new members with information on the 12 Steps, as well as names of group members to turn to if you need support to prevent using between meetings.
While large cities may have near infinite possibilities for 12 Step meetings throughout the day and throughout the week, in smaller areas the choices can be much more limited. Additionally, for people with children, busy work or school schedules or for those without transportation, getting to a meeting can be a challenge.
For more information, simply go to… www.InTheRooms.com
Enter …InTheRooms.com. InTheRooms.com is proof that a virtual meeting can be effective.
This is an online support network offering continual fellowship with others in recovery using the exact same principles as the in-person 12 Step meetings. It certainly is not designed to replace the personal meetings, but to provide additional layers of support and 24-hour opportunities to quickly and easily with the click of a mouse, participate in pre-set video meetings or to chat with others in recovery.
The same guiding principles and 12 Traditions are used with within the online support community.
Connections can still be made virtually. Support is still provided by the group; and like in-person meetings, friendships are forged.
So, to answer the question about the effectiveness of virtual meetings, the near 400,000 global member community of InTheRooms.com would certainly suggest in our modern, global society of instantaneous connections, the virtual meeting more than has a place, its a perfect fit. A concept whose time has come.
For those who may not be able to make it to an in- person 12 Step program as often as they would like, they can choose from over 110 live online meetings weekly focusing in on a range of different recovery types and focuses.
By Bill P & Lisa D
Dear Higher Power, help me
To forget what I have done for other people, and to remember what other people have done for me.
To ignore what the world owes me, and to think what I owe the world.
To put my rights in the background, and my duties in the middle distance, and my chances to do a little more than my duty in the foreground.
To see that my fellows are just as real as I am, and to try to look behind their faces to their hearts, as hungry for joy as mine is.
To own that the only good reason for my existence is not what I can get out of life, but what I can give to life.
To close my book of complaints against management of the universe and look for a place where I can sow a few seeds of happiness-am I willing to do these things even for a day?
Then I have a good chance of staying with this Design for Living.Continue Reading...
By Dawn Maslar
On April 30, 2015, I was invited to participate in a Recovery Forum. The evening had a variety of speakers that were asked to comment on different aspects of addictions. My job was to talk about, why relationships can be so difficult in recovery and, to address destructive and even dangerous relationship patterns.
As I reflected on my task, one terrible night came to mind. I was doubled over in a ball on the floor of my bedroom. I was crying so hard that no sound came out of my open mouth. When I was able to catch my breath, I would cry out to God. I wanted to know: “Why? Why doesn’t he love me? Why am I so unlovable?”
I had just discovered that the man I was in love with, the man that I had been sleeping with for six months was with another woman. This revelation was particularly painful because this wasn’t the first time this happened in one of my relationships. In fact, it wasn’t even the second. It was another in a long line of failed relationships and it devastated me.
What I discovered since that time was my problems with relationships started in my childhood. I had an older brother with emotional problems. He got in trouble at home, then in school and later with the law. He was the kid in the neighborhood that would smash the pumpkins at Halloween and break all the Christmas lights.
When I was ten he got heavy into drugs. So, when I went to bed at night, I didn’t know if I would sleep through the night, wake-up to screaming, or have someone crash into the wall behind my bed.
What I have since learned is that children raised in a dysfunctional or unpredictable environment tend to have larger amygdala’s. That’s the small structure in your brain that sounds the alarm. When you have a larger one, it gets set off easier. Therefore, you tend to be very very nervous.
When I was twelve years old, my aunt gave a little white pill. It was called a Quaalude. I took the pill and my amygdala instant turned off. It was heaven. I no longer felt nervous or worried. I chased that feeling all the way to the doors of recovery many years later.
The problem was once I found recovery, I got my overactive amygdala back. This made me uncomfortable. But, it didn’t take long for me to figure out how to shut it back off. I just needed to fall in love. Research using fMRI’s shows that falling in love deactivates the amygdala.
The way I did this was to walk into a room, scan the environment and if I found a man that made my body tingle it was game on. I didn’t need to date or even get to know him. All that could wait until after we had sex.
What I didn’t know at the time, but now I know, is that the act of having sex started the process of me falling in love. For a woman, the combination of dopamine (where I excited to be with him) and oxytocin (the cuddle hormone) built up to a point where I fell in love.
Once I’m in love, my amygdala shut down and I’m happy. But now I have a new problem. It’s not just my amygdala that gets shut down. My ventromedial prefrontal cortex, something I call the Judge, also gets shut down. That means I’m trying to get to know this guy, but the part of my brain that should be judging him is not working.
So, what happened was, I would meet this guy and introduce him to my friends. I would say, “Here he is, isn’t he great?” They would pull me aside and say, “Dawn, he’s an escaped felon.” But because my alarm wasn’t working and my Judge was muted, I would say, “I know, isn’t it exciting?”
But that’s not even the worst part. The worst part is that men don’t fall in love the same way women do. So, I would be at home thinking I was in this great relationship, planning for the future and picking out china patterns and he would be out dating other women.
This process would set me up over and over again for a frustrating and painful relationship pattern. This is what eventually caused me to collapse on the floor of my bedroom. The good news is that although I had fallen, I did get up. I have an amazing man in my life that does love me. And, thanks to that experience, I can now help other women find love too.