SMART Chat

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.

SMART homework

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.

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Copy it yourself and share you answers. I will edit this post to include my answers when I finish filling it out.

REBT

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.

Women for Sobriety

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.

Enjoy!

Quick note about my first SMART meeting

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.

Gonna try to get SMART

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.

No More Slipping

I slipped again two weeks ago. I am finally ready to just call it a relapse. One long drawn out relapse full of slips since last May. Slipped… sober 3 months… slip…sober a month… slipped again. And each time, something bad happened.  The first time I lost a favorite dress. The 2nd time I scratched up my shins doing laundry drunk. And this 3rd time,  I dropped a shopping bag with a Dali clock I just bought and broke the stand. I am gluing it back together as much as I can but actually hope the cracks will remind me to stay sober!

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I keep saying “I am back on track” after each slip. But obviously I need to make a change. I need to do something. I really want to stay sober. I have experienced many of the benefits. I don’t want to face anymore of the horrors. I know everyone is going to say “go to meetings” and “get a sponsor.” I almost went to a meeting last night but decided to go to bed early.

This latest slip was in Barcelona. Well, actually in Figueres after visiting the Salvador Dali museum. Sangria was included in the special at lunch. I got tipsy while talking with an American couple sitting next to me about the Dali museum and travels. Towards the end of my meal and half pitcher, I felt they were judging me. I felt they were disappointed for some reason. “Look at this drunk traveler.” Was I slurring? I think my feelings of guilt were making me paranoid.

I had dinner that night in Barcelona with a friend and her friend. She knows I am sober but her friend did not. They ordered a pitcher of sangria but I declined the glass when the waiter brought me one. My friend apologized for the pitcher when her friend went to the bathroom. I wanted to confess my afternoon drinking session but I was ashamed.

The next day I planned to walk around the city taking photos. I headed to the Barri Gothic area. But I felt an itch everytime I past a place offering sangria. I finally stopped and ordered a half pitcher with pizza. Then I spent the rest of the day walking around, taking photos, and stopping for sangria. I stopped at 3 different places along the Ramblas. I kept telling myself I deserved it. I was relaxing. I was people watching. I came to Spain to see the Dali museum and accomplished that so now there was no hurry.

I got drunk and started to chat with a local guy online. Soon we made plans to meet. I spent the night at his place. We did not actually have sex because he couldn’t get it up. But I am disgusted at the risky situation I put myself in. And the next day, I went back to the room I was renting and slept most of the day. A wasted day.

That evening I did get to an AA meeting. It was a big book meeting. I don’t remember what the reading was but I did not relate to it. I felt out of sorts. The shame and guilt were worse than a hangover.
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So I am at 2 weeks sober today. Again. Pink fucking fluffy cloud.

Another Sober Halloween… and a date with a person in recovery

I feel I have lots to say and wish I committed more time to blogging. Just like I wish I committed more time to AA meetings, yoga, reading, exercise, etc.

I survived another Halloween sober! Then again, I shouldn’t really say it is another because last year I did not go to any parties. (I also just looked back and realized I wrote about planning to go out for Halloween but I never wrote about the night.)  Last year, I went to help set up and decorate for the party I was going to that night. I brought my costume in a bag. I did not know anyone in this group yet and wanted to help set up as a way to meet people. I originally planned on attending a parade in between set up and the party. I spent all afternoon helping and did meet a few people who I still talk with today. By the end of set up, I was so tired. I went to take a nap in my car. I decided to skip the parade. That nap felt so good. When my alarm went off, I decided to skip the whole party and slept in my car some more. I never got to wear my Gizmo costume.

This year, the party and the parade were on different nights. And I skipped helping with setup. I napped at home before getting ready. I was ready for a late night of dancing! I did drink a Red Bull on my way there and stash another in my car for the drive home.

I asked a guy to meet me at the party that I went on a short date with a month ago. He seemed nice and he likes the outdoors. He does not drink but for religious reasons. I am now not sure I want someone like that. I will get to that in a bit.

I went dressed as the Mad Hatter. I must say, I did an excellent job on the costume and makeup. I had teapot earrings and carried a little toy teapot all night. I got a lot of compliments. I think that was my highlight: all the positive attention! That was one of my main reasons for drinking, right? There were a lot of jokes of “what is in the teapot?” and people suggesting I sneak vodka in it. I actually could have because they did not check it at the door. I was really wishing I hid ice tea in it because it was $3 for bottle water and the sink in the bathroom had a very slow drip.

Knowing people there that I met at Burning Man made the night so much better. I felt included. It felt wonderful to walk through a crowd and have people recognize me or see people I knew. It made me almost glad I missed it last year when I did not know anyone in this group of people. I also had a friend there that I recently discovered moved to my area! I met her at Burning Man 2008 and we have gotten to know each other via Facebook. I am thrilled she is living nearby so now I will have a friend in my area. It sounds so pathetic but I really need friends nearby. I want to invite people over for dinner and to see my home. I have been feeling lonely.

I regretted inviting my date. First of all, his breath stank! I offered him gum several times and he turned it down. I wanted to beg him or go to my car for a toothbrush. Then we would lose each other in the crowd and he would get upset. I did not think it was much of a problem because I knew we would eventually find each other in the club. There were 3 small dance rooms. So he  grabbed my arm to avoid losing me and that annoyed me. And I thought it was rude when we walked down the stairs because he held onto my arm and walked next to me, blocking the path of people walking the opposite way on the stairs. I asked how he was getting home and he told me by train, but I knew the last train stopped soon. The next one would not be until 530 am.  For some reason, I felt he was fishing for me to offer him a ride home. He asked me what time WE were leaving. I told him I might stay to help clean up. He said he could stick around for that too.

I started to get too tired around 4am. There was still another hour of the party to go. I told my date that I couldn’t last any longer. He asked me for a ride to the train station. He gave me a sob story about waiting there but I was not biting the bait.

As we walked to my car, we passed a small crowd around a young woman. This woman had a bleeding knee. I stopped to offer help. The crowd was a bouncer holding her up and three strangers. The woman fell on the dance floor (wearing 4 inch heels) and could barely stand. The bouncer was trying to get her a cab. The strangers (2 women and a man) were trying to assist him and decipher her address. I told the crowd I had a car and could drive her home if it wasn’t too out-of-the-way. (Let me clarify that date definitely lived out-of-the-way.)  I felt sorry for this young woman and I don’t always trust taxis, especially around inebriated helpless females. With help of Google maps and several questions, we figured out her address. She thanked me constantly on the way back and slurred answers about herself. She kept saying she thinks someone slipped something in her drink. It was possible, but she reminded me of myself in one of my many blackouts. I made sure she had her walllet and cell phone on her. I even mentioned that I used to be just like her in my drinking days. My date said “oh really?”  I told him yes and that is why I quit.

His “oh really” response is why I am not sure I should try to date people that abstain from alcohol for religious reasons. I get worried they won’t understand the reasons I need to abstain, not just choosing to abstain. I worry they will judge me for my reasons and for my pass. I also worry they won’t be able to sympathize with my struggle.

So now to talk about my date the next night with someone that is in recovery. But it wasn’t the type of recovery I expected. This date was with a woman who has over a decade sober. She already told me she is not willing to date me because I am so new and we will just be friends. I respect that. I could use more sober friends. Yet she told me she never had a problem with alcohol. She never liked the way it made you lose motor control. She had a drug problem. I never asked which drug because it doesn’t matter.

I don’t think of her as different or worse than an alcoholic in recovery. Yet I do think there is a difference in temptation for her and I. I felt she wouldn’t really understand my problem because alcohol is so normal in society. I confessed to her my recent relapse. She started to give me the AA lectures and I should get a sponsor. I mentioned that I thought of writing a letter to make amends with my sister and she told me I should wait until a sponsor advises that. This is when the AA dogma annoys me: what makes a sponsor an expert? I actually had a therapist advise me to write this letter months ago but I have been putting it off. I hate when people talk about sponsors as if they are the antidote to a fucked up life. They are like ushers to sobriety. I do want a sponsor but I am not going to listen to everything this person says unless they have a master in psychology.

So while I wouldn’t mind having this woman as a sober friend, I am not sure how far this friendship will go if it is full of her lecturing me.

But I want to add that I just got an email from my friend that just moved to this area. She said she doesn’t know what changed about me but I look great and happy. I told her I quit drinking. That was a nice reminder of how sobriety does shin through.

Drunk Guy Videos Drunk Girl During Sex

I read this story and think “thank god cell phones weren’t around when I was in college.” There were a lot of horrible drunk nights that I had blackout sex and could have been recorded.  Hell just because I am not young nor a college student, if I drink again, this could happen to me.

http://www.freep.com/story/sports/college/university-michigan/wolverines/2015/10/20/ex-wolverine-says-drunk-recall-filming-sex-act/74285098/

Winehouse

I am on my way to Barcelona.
Once again, thoughts of drinking. This time, Spanish wine.

But on the first leg of flights, I watched “Amy”, the documentary about Amy Winehouse. I related so much. Well, except for the amazing voice and famous thing. My voice is really crap. But the feelings of no structure and discipline as a kid and an absent father leading to a messed up life and relationship.

I am about to get on my next flight and looking up AA meetings in Barcelona.