Sponsors

With the nice summer weather upon us and the abundance of parties, I have been having a hard time. July 4th weekend was particularly difficult. A cold beer would have really hit the spot….

I’ve determined that my current program needs some changes. I’m going to get a new sponsor.  I have fallen out of touch with my current sponsor, plus he’s not the right match for me anyway.

I need to get back to regular therapy. I still have a lot of unresolved issues stemming from my upbringing and genetic makeup. No matter how much success I have or material goods I obtain, I have this hole in my soul or something that I need to fill with reward and recognition. The two mottos I most remember most in my household growing up was my dad’s “We don’t play to win, we play for blood” and my mom’s “Just get over it.” So that’s what I did. I was an assassin who killed and maimed the competition while simultaneously burying inside all negative feelings and emotions. Instead of killing the enemy, it turned on me, and I wound up destroying myself. I need to find some type of peace within my inner soul so I don’t feel the need to dull the pain.

I checked out a Smart Recovery meeting on Monday night, and I really liked it. It reminded me of the group sessions we did at Hazelden. A lot more constructive cognitive help than you get at a typical AA meeting. I will definitely go back.

I have become increasingly disenfranchised with AA. I love the fellowship but I still cannot get through some of the doctrine, especially God/Higher Power piece. I wish I could be more spiritual because I see how beneficial it is to people, but I can’t seem to get there without a huge internal debate and argument. Being a lawyer in recovery sucks sometimes. I love my friends in AA and I love the fellowship. So I will keep going to my 3-4 meetings a week.

Well, that’s about it. Feeling pretty shitty about it. Then I feel better. Then shitty. I just want to get it. Why is it so hard?

~Dick

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Recently, I’ve been helping another alcoholic get into the program. I’ll call him “Mike.” I’ve kind of become his de facto sponsor although due to my limited sobriety I’m not qualified to be his sponsor. I’ve been trying to get him a real sponsor, but I’m not sure if he’s ready.

Anyways, the situation presented itself where I could help Mike and I offered my hand to help, and fortunately he accepted. I smelled booze on his breath a few times in inappropriate situations, and mentioned it to my wife, who of course told his ex-wife, then he called me, wanting to kick my ass basically. He had no idea I was an alcoholic so I’m sure it was a surprise when I told him my story and offered to go to a meeting with him. Poor guy has no real friends up here (he’s from another state and relocated), so the AA fellowship will be a huge benefit for him, if he accepts it. It’s pretty amazing to watch a newcomer come into the program and start the healing and changing process.

Selfishly, helping him helps my recovery. This is what Step 12 is all about. Focusing on someone else makes me focus less on myself which is always a good thing.

In other news, I hit the century mark, 100 days, and I’m approaching my longest sobriety stretch of 110 days. One day at a time it will be nice to get there.

I have a business trip upcoming to Florida which will be my first business trip sober. I’m trying to arrange for attending an AA meeting down there and of course I will be calling my sponsor and others in the program in case I feel jittery. Hopefully, I will have a little bit of time to sit by the pool and get some sun.

Lastly, I’m not sure if this has anything to do with my recovery efforts (it probably does), but I’m having the best year revenue wise that I’ve ever had since starting my practice 3 years ago. I’m very grateful for that, and it’s one less thing I need to worry about at least for now.

One day at a time…

~Dick

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Post image for My Difficulty With Finding A Higher Power

“Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.” –Step 2, Alcoholics Anonymous

For my Step 2 work, my sponsor told me to write a blog entry on my ongoing difficulty with the Higher Power concept. Like most new AA members, this is very hard for me. And as an attorney, I’m definitely guilt of over-thinking and over-analyzing the entire concept! Whoops, occupational hazard.

First a little background. I grew up in a secular Jewish home. I went to Hebrew school three times per week, synagogue on High Holidays and had my Bar Mitzvah, but I never connected with God.

There was no God or a Higher Power in my household. In fact, it was pretty much the opposite. My grandmother was Holocaust survivor, living through Auschwitz and other notorious concentration camps. My mom was born in Germany in a displaced persons camp after the camps were liberated. Her father was also a survivor, having escaped a Siberian labor camp during World War II. My grandfather was a baker and they struggled financially. With my mom the best English speaker in the house, she became sort of like a de facto head of the household. I don’t think my mother had much use for God, although due to my recovery she is rediscovering her relationship with a Higher Power. My dad never spoke of God to me, but he tells me now he believes in the concept.

Personally, I’m a firm believer in science, logic and rationality. What do you expect? I’m an attorney! I studied religion and theology in undergrad. Arguing about God and theology is fun for me, actually!

Right now, I just don’t believe there is an Almighty-Power-Of-The-Universe-God. I cannot prove there is a God. And I recognize that I cannot prove there is not a God. (Pardon the double negative).

Why does AA suggest such a strong reliance on a Higher Power? Is it necessary? Is it effective? Do you have to embrace a Higher Power in order to achieve a healthy sobriety? These are some of the questions I ask.

Sometimes I think that since a lot of alcoholics are so lost, they need something to hold onto to ground them, and a Higher Power or God fills that void. Sometimes I think the whole Higher Power thing is just one big mind-f*ck, used to reverse brainwash alcoholics into a healthier way of thinking. And sometimes I just cannot fathom that people actually believe that God or some “higher power” has so much control over their daily lives and destiny. Inconceivable!

I understand that AA does not require a belief in a Higher Power, as all the steps are merely suggestions.  And AA does not require a belief in God per se. Step 2 speaks only of a “Higher Power.”

My sponsor and a lot of successful recovering alcoholics stress the importance of finding a Higher Power. I know it’s important. It has worked for a lot of people. I cannot debate that. It will be a progression for me.

They say the group can be your Higher Power; as long as it’s not me. I can buy into that, for sure. I’m a big believer in the power of the AA fellowship and the group itself. At some meetings, especially smaller circle meetings, there is definitely this positive energy in the room which flows throughout and I can feel that.

The AA program works. I see it every day. It’s working for me now. Group Of Drunks. G O D. That’s cool with me right now.

Maybe someday, I will have more of a refined concept of a Higher Power. Maybe someday I will accept God in my life. I’m open to it. I’m just not ready for it right now. That’s ok.

The Step says “came to believe,” which implies a journey to find a higher power. My journey has only started.

One day at a time…

~Dick

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(c) Law & Order

As a homework assignment for Step One work, my sponsor told me to read Step 1 out of the 12 and 12 Book, and to write one story about how I was powerless over alcohol.

Geez, which story should I pick? There are so many….

Then this thought came into my head. Of course I had to bring it back to being an attorney…

I envisioned myself as lead trial counsel in the case of Alcoholism vs. Dick. I had to prove that Dick was an alcoholic.

My mouth started to salivate. This case would be a slam dunk! I had story after story, exhibit after exhibit. I would shred this Dick guy on the witness stand with example after example of how he went into a situation thinking he would take it easy with the booze, only to drink way over his limit and do the stupidest things!

And he kept on doing the same thing, thinking this time it would be different. This time he would control his drinking. But the evidence shows, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, that this guy Dick is no match for Alcoholism! Beyond a reasonable doubt. No. There is no doubt. It is a fact!

The jury would deliberate for merely minutes, and come back with the verdict. We the jury find the defendant, Dick, guilty as charged! He is an alcoholic! And the judge would sentence Dick to a lifetime of alcoholism with no possibility of parole. Dick would be escorted out of the courtroom in shackles wearing a orange jumpsuit with “ALCOHOLIC” stenciled on the front.

If you are debating whether you are truly an alcoholic, try this exercise. You don’t have to be a lawyer. You probably could put on a very strong case that you are an alcoholic who is powerless over alcohol. I know I can.

But it’s not a death sentence. Far from it. It’s a new lease on life — like you’ve been pardoned from death row. The real death sentence is continuing to fight the truth, and not succumbing to it.

One day at a time…

~Dick

 

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If I had a dollar for every time someone told me “Get a sponsor” when I first came into AA, I would be very rich. Did I listen? Of course not. I didn’t need a sponsor, I told myself. Sound familiar to anyone listening?

When I came out of Hazelden last summer, I did pick a sponsor who I thought was a good fit. He wasn’t. I talked to him maybe a handful of times. I should have found a better fit, but I thought going to 90 meetings in 90 days was sufficient. It wasn’t.

After this latest and hopefully last relapse, I asked “Matt” if he could be my sponsor. I was in an AWOL (Another Way Of Life) with Matt which is an intensive weekly step meeting with the same guys every week. Matt has some 15 years sobriety and is a complete hard-ass. He goes to a ton of meetings and has very high expectations. Exactly what I need. He requires that I call him every day, no exceptions unless you are on your deathbed. And he always asks if I’m still sober. I’m terrified to drink because he will kick my rear! I already missed a call, and he reamed me a new anus the next day. He also loves to bring up the times when I’ve hit bottom to remind me of how horrible it felt.

Tonight, he is taking me to a “commitment” at the local hospital to have a meeting at the detox ward. He said “it should make me feel less fucked up.”

We’ll see…that’s tough to do right now.

One day at a time…

~Dick

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