I went to a party last night. It was a costume party. Again, I loved seeing all the creativity and beautiful outfits people made. And I loved the music! I was reminded that if the DJ is good, I can dance without alcohol or drugs.
I arrived 11:30pm. I thought that was a good time. My friend said she would arrive the same time. I waited. And waited. I walked around a lot and texted a friend. I felt like a loser on my phone at a party. I had a hard time trying to find people I knew because I wasn’t wearing my glasses and everyone was in costumes. A lot of people had masks, wigs, or just looked different. Feeling aline made me want to drink. If I had a few and got tipsy, I wouldn’t mind the waiting and I would have the courage to talk to strangers.
My friend showed up with her friends close to 130am. And she was trashed. It was so annoying. She kept telling me wonderful things about myself and how good I look since I got sober. Her slurring made me even happier to be sober than her compliments. I kept apologizing to people as she pushed through the dance crowd. At least she is a friendly drunk. She hugged a lot of people and told them all how beautiful they are.
I left at 3:30am. We had plans for a dinner cruise with friends today. We were supposed to arrive between 3:30 and 4:30. It is now almost 5pm and she has not even responded to my messages. My guess is she is still sleeping away her hangover. She most likely will miss the boat leaving the dock. I guess I better try to meet some peope.
I popped into the chat room on the SMART website. I liked it, even though they were all talking music lessons. It felt old school. I used to be in a similar chat 2007 to 2009 for travelers. I used to go into that chat room drunk a lot. I plan to check out this chat more often but I am headed to bed now.
If you find yourself bored and want to pop into the chatroom, look for me on there as k365.
Here is an example of some of the work SMART recovery has us do. Fill it the pros and cons of both drinking and staying sober. Then mark whether they are long term or short term results.
Copy it yourself and share you answers. I will edit this post to include my answers when I finish filling it out.
REBT: Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy
It is recognized as the first form of Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT). Many of the tools and techniques that SMART use come from CBT.
I find it interesting and helpful that a lot of the REBT therapy sounds a lot like Buddhism. How we think influences how we feel which influences how we act. Many of our problems seem to start with how we react to life’s events.
You may have used an addictive behavior to deal with irrational thoughts and excessive emotions. We call this the “using strategy” for coping with discomfort. Somehow, we adopted the unrealistic belief that life should be free from discomfort and pain, and that we shouldn’t have to tolerate it. This unhelpful belief leads to further distress, which drives the urge to engage in addictive behavior to escape the discomfort.
I was supposed to go to a meditation group tonight but I took a nap instead. I have been napping a lot lately. Maybe I need vitamins. I hope to get to yoga tomorrow. But at least I am sober.
It is funny that I don’t like my new “sobriety date”. I would have rather kept the original in January, or even after my first slip right after Memorial day. Or even right after Burning Man and I could celebrate a new year of sobriety every year the Man burns. But now mid-Oct seems blah. I feel like I am cheating if I celebrate it in January, but I still feel that is my real date. That was when I decided to start a new life, even though I still remember not being so sure about it.
I might not celebrate Jan 20th as 2 years mostly-sober. I might. I will see how far I get in this SMART therapy to decide.
I was reading an article (can’t remember which one now) about other programs that help people stay sober besides AA. I find a lot of these articles on The Fix website. I follow it on Facebook. I recommend it to everyone who is struggling with an addiction and likes to read.
I came across a website Women For Sobriety. I submitted to join last week but I am just getting around to exploring the site today. It is interesting. It is a forum for women only to discuss our struggle and support each other. The first thing I came across while reading introductions was 13 affirmations that should be said each day. (I guess I should have read it in an “about” section first but I was skipping ahead. ) I really like these and plan to say them daily. For as long as I remember to. Actually, I might print them out and put them on my bathroom mirror.
1. I have a life-threatening problem that once had me. I now take charge of my life and my disease. I accept the responsibility.
2. Negative thoughts destroy only myself. My first conscious sober act must be to remove negativity from my life.
3. Happiness is a habit I will develop. Happiness is created, not waited for.
4. Problems bother me only to the degree that I permit them to.
5. I am what I think. I am a capable, competent, caring, compassionate woman.
6. Life can be ordinary or it can be great. Greatness is mine by a conscious effort.
7. Love can change the course of my world. Caring becomes all important.
8. The fundamental object of life is emotional and spiritual growth. Daily I put my life into a proper order, knowing which are the priorities.
9. The past is gone forever. No longer will I be victimized by the past, I am a new person.
10. All love given returns. I will learn to know that others love me.
11. Enthusiasm is my daily exercise. I treasure all moments of my new life.
12. I am a competent woman and have much to give life. This is what I am and I shall know it always.
13. I am responsible for myself and for my actions. I am in charge of my mind, my thoughts, and my life.
I LOVED IT!
I loved that we did not have to spend time reading the same thing that is read at every meeting (like the steps and promises in AA, which I feel are a waste of time unless it is your first meeting.)
I like that we didn’t have to all hold hands at the end and say some prayer (especially when AA tries to say it is not religious but then has everyone read a Christian prayer.)
I like that after sharing, the facilitator asks us questions. “So what did that make you want to do? How did you feel? Did you crave alcohol when that happened?” It felt like real therapy. And I liked that others in the group could comment to other shares.
I like that we are taught tools and go over the tools together. I guess that would be like going over a step in a meeting.
We had 8 members, plus facilitator, and they considered that a big group. Two of them were old timers and four of us were brand new to SMART. If someone started to bash AA, the facilitator would say we are not here for that. He said we are not to focus on the negative. We don’t use labels such as “alcoholic” because of the negativity of the word. We say we have a problem with substance use or abuse. We don’t really count time or days. We just work on the tools and strategies to improve our lives which are:1) building and maintaining motivation; 2) coping with urges; 3) managing thoughts, feelings and behaviors; and 4) living a balanced life.
And a little story that was shared in reference to slipping or relapse: If you were driving a car from New York to California and the car broke down in Kansas, would you drive it back to New York to be fixed? Or would you pick up from where it broke down? Similarly, just because I slipped a few times, it does not take me back to the very start. I have learned a lot about myself and my sobriety since January 2014. Just because I drank a few weeks ago, it does not make me a newbie. I would not want another 30 day chip, (even if the AA in my area gave them out.)
I will still go to AA meetings for the fellowship of it. But I am done with pretending I will do the “steps” and wanting a sponsor. I wouldn’t mind having a friend to help support me but I would rather call the person that: a friend.
Unfortunately there is only 1 SMART meeting a week that is close to me. And I won’t be able to attend another until December due to my work schedule. But there are online meetings I will check out. And if you are on the forums or SROL (SMART Recovery OnLine), my username is k365.
I have mentioned before the SMART recovery site and meetings. I am finally gonna go to one this week. I just signed up on the site to follow the forums and chat rooms and see about the online meetings.
I have been questioning wanting to try, or continue, AA meetings and program. Mostly because I read an article the other day about how low the success rate is and how it is not based on science. Then when I read this description of the difference between SMART and AA, I think SMART might work best did me:
A. SMART Recovery has a scientific foundation, not a spiritual one. SMART Recovery teaches increasing self-reliance, rather than powerlessness. SMART Recovery meetings are discussion meetings in which individuals talk with one another, rather than to one another. SMART Recover encourages attendance for months to years, but probably not a lifetime. There are no sponsors in SMART Recovery. SMART Recovery discourages use of labels such as “alcoholic” or “addict”.
So I will browse around that site and check out a meeting in a few days. I will report back more.