Monthly Archives: May 2017

Hello Recovery, Hello Amends

adelle-hello“Hello”

Adele’s “Hello” hit the air a couple months back and by now it’s starting to get on everyone’s nerves because it is played so much you almost want to say “goodbye” and not listen to the song. This song hit me hard when it first came out. I remember the day it hit the air, I had to pull over because the words immediately catapulted me back to my first year in recovery…amends.  Such a painstaking phase of my first year in recovery, don’t get me wrong I grew but it was painful growth.

Adele goes on in her song to say “she’s called a thousand times and hello from the outside”…I could relate… I had gotten out of treatment, I was outside of bondage of my disease and I had a clear head to start calling and make the amends that were much needed to those I had wronged.  Although I thought I was reading to do all my amends my sponsor had me do them in the order she thought was pertinent, and so I did.

I made those and amends and thought I had let go but Adele broke me all over again head, heart and soul…she brought back every emotion that I felt that year in a three minute song.  At the first part of the song she talks about healing and how time was supposed to heal wounds but she hadn’t done much healing. I felt that pain, getting out of treatment and anxiously waiting for the healing that was supposed to happen.  I knew that I would need to do my amends to start my healing process, I had wronged so many people and I needed to clean my side of the street.

Five years ago I picked up a phone and called a friend to make an amend that I knew would not go well at all.  I was nervous, hands shaking, my heart was about to pound out of my chest and she answered…I didn’t want to make this amend but my sponsor had told me I was emotionally ready.  I wasn’t feeling very emotionally ready as soon as I heard her voice come over the phone.  The first thing out of her mouth was, nothing changes if nothing changes…so, have you changed?  I didn’t expect her to say anything like this so I was taken back, I swallowed hard and fought through my crackled voice and said Hello.  I went on to tell her I was sorry and I had gotten out of treatment and I was working on my first year in recovery and she remained silent.  I kept talking and telling her how I’m working a really good program with a really good sponsor…she was still silent.  I finally said her name and looked at the phone, she had hung up.  That was a hard amend, I tried my best, I did what I was supposed to do.  Did she hear everything? Did she know I truly meant what I was saying?  I don’t know the answer to those questions and I never will and that isn’t my responsibility and that wasn’t my side of the street, I cleaned up mine and I made that call.  Adele’s song tugged at my heart…I wanted to tell her I was sorry for breaking her heart but I never got that out.  I guess I will never get to tell her myself but maybe Adele can do that for me.

Here I am almost six years later and the world “Hello” from one song took me back to that heart pounding, voice crackling moment.  I have to thank Adele for letting me feel my past in a very soft gentle way.  Amends can be difficult but the growth that comes from amends is so precious.  Short term loss can be long term gain…so I took the short term loss of a friendship but through AA and myrecovery.com and I have gained so many more relationships.

Adele’s last words in her song “At least I can say I tried, But it don’t matter it clearly doesn’t tear you apart anymore”…I could add and say it doesn’t tear me apart anymore either because I have grown and let everything go, these are the great gifts given to us by our program of recovery!  Stay strong everyone!

If there was every any doubt…I am an Alcoholic!

beerLast night, I almost had a slip.  Well, I kinda, sorta did have a slip…I just hit my 9 month’s sober anniversary three days ago.

My daughter was here in town, to move her stuff out of my garage, etc., to her new place with her fiancé in DC.  They borrowed my car to run some errands and came back to be picked up by her father to go to see her brother’s lacrosse game.  They brought back beer and we sat out on the patio.  I went in to get my last diet Pepsi to toast the move with them.  I had been saving it to have after dinner, but I got it anyway so that I could have something to toast with.

Her father came and picked them up.  They left their empty bottles in the recycling bin outside.  I hung out on the patio by myself for a while before I went back into the house.  When I went in I passed the recycling bin.  I could smell the empty beer bottles.  I walked past them and went in to read for a while before I fixed dinner.  I could still smell the empty bottles…cunning, baffling, powerful.  I finally went out to get the empties with the intention of rinsing them out and putting them back in the recycling bin.  I noticed that one of the bottles still had a little left in it; not much, but a little.  Before I knew it I drained the bottle.  It was just enough to get a taste.  God, it was good!

I think I went into shock.  I couldn’t believe I had done that.  It’s as if my arm was not my own.  I totally freaked.  I quickly rinsed the bottles out and hurried up to get them back in the bin.  I didn’t know what to do next, so I sat down and prayed.  What went through my mind next was a nightmare.  It’s as if all the work I had done in the last 9 months was gone.  I had visions of the past and of the future, all rolled into one.  I was alone.  My [sober] roommate was out of town.  I found myself thinking I could easily go up to the liquor store and get a six-pack and no one would know…cunning, baffling, powerful.  I could blame the “empties” on my daughter and her friends.  No one would question that…cunning, baffling, powerful.  All of a sudden I saw myself in the future, buying beer and hiding it around the house…saying to myself that I could “just have one” from time to time… cunning, baffling, powerfulNot!  Been there, done that!  I prayed harder.  I prayed to have God remove this obsessive thinking from me.  I thought about calling my sponsor, I was too freaked out.  I thought about getting to a meeting, I was too grubby from moving and too lazy to take a shower and make myself look nice.  I kept praying and I kept praying.  Finally, the obsession seemed to relent.  I threw on a hat to cover my “bad hair” and went up to the convenience store to get some more diet Pepsi.  When I returned, I realized that I had gone right past the liquor store, twice, and didn’t even notice it.  Never was I so glad to pop the top of that can of DP!

The next morning I woke up uncomfortable.  I was thinking about what a close call I had and I began to wonder if one tiny sip counted as a “slip”.  I was obsessing again.  I knew I had to tell someone, that I could not keep this secret.  In my morning prayer and meditation I heard “call your sponsor”.  If I did not tell someone it would become a secret that would fester and undermine all the work I had done so far… cunning, baffling, powerful.  I called her…she was just getting up.  She congratulated me on not acting on the obsession, but, said I should have called her last night.  She also told me not to beat myself up about it, to be grateful that my program was so strong that I stopped myself.  I know today that it wasn’t I who stopped me, it was God.  I should have called her, but it still would have been too late to stop me.  Like I said about my arm, it seemed to have a power of its own…cunning, baffling, powerful.

I’m supposed to go to a wedding today, a friend of my daughter’s.  She is a young woman I used to drink with at happy hours when my daughter and I both worked downtown.  I am not going to go.  They can use my car.  Today I will spend in gratitude that I did not go out last night.  Today I have a plan to stay sober and I am so grateful to this program for giving me the tools to do that.  Today I will call another alcoholic and tell them this story.  Today I will clean up my house.  I will continue to create an environment of peace and serenity. Today I am grateful.

What Did I Learn From This Today?

 One – If I ever had any doubt about being an alcoholic, I do not anymore.

Two – This program works!