6 Easy Ways to Walk Through Fear in Early-Sobriety

Fear Won’t Kill You!

Fear won’t kill you, but it definitely feels like it will! I say this as a woman in long-term recovery who’s faced more than a few “fear situations” in my time.

tips for early-sobriety

Look, fear sucks. We’re told in treatment that fear is responsible for a large portion of the stupid actions we took while drinking and drugging. We’re told how corrosive and poisonous fear is, how it can warp even the best intentions.

What we may not be told, though, is how to get through fear. I was told to remember that fear stands for “forgetting everything’s all right,” but that didn’t help me much. I mean, how do we take that and put it into our lives? How can I, a fear based alcoholic, remember that everything’s all right?

With those questions in mind, I put together a guide for walking through fear in early-sobriety (or any other time in sobriety). I hope it helps you all!

Talk to Someone

This is probably the easiest way to get rid of fear (it was for me anyway), so it tops the list. Just talk to someone! It can be your sponsor, a friend, a significant other, someone at work…it can be anyone!

It doesn’t matter who you talk to, simply talking to someone makes the fear so much easier to deal with. If it’s anxiety-based fear, like a lot of mine was, then this cuts the anxiety in half.

Talking to someone could also take the form of getting a therapist. This is a great tool for women, or anyone, in early-sobriety. After all, there’s a lot more going on than simply stopping our drug and alcohol abuse!

Go to a Meeting

This tip connects back to talking to someone. Sometimes the simple act of connecting with other human beings is all we need to kick fear’s butt.

Go to a meeting. Surround yourself with other alcoholics and addicts. Surround yourself with your people! If you can, raise your hand to share. You’ll be amazed how many people come up to you after the meeting and say they know exactly what you shared about.

See, fear is based in isolation. It’s based in thinking we’re different, inferior, or fundamentally wrong. One of the easiest ways to break this type of thinking is to be around people who reassure us we’re not different. We’re the same as them. We’re okay!

Pray

how to get through fear

The simple act of praying can help beat the heck out of fear. The way it was explained to me was like this – alcoholics and addicts are fearful people. We’re afraid we won’t get something we want or we’ll lose something we have.

The fear of those two situations causes us all kinds of trouble. It’s also all based in self. Not getting something we want or losing something we have is inherently selfish.

Guess what gets rid of selfishness? Prayer! It connects us to a Higher Power. That power, whatever it is, then allows us to think of other people before ourselves. If we’re no longer being selfish, then the fear of losing something we have or not getting something we want goes away.

Breathing Techniques

Breathing techniques are priceless when it comes to anxiety-based fear. Things like panic attacks and social anxiety can be effectively controlled by simply changing how we breathe.

Fear that’s anxiety based is a physiological response. It’s our fight or flight response. By changing how we take in oxygen, we can calm the body down. We can slow our heart rate and decrease blood pressure.

These, in turn, will make us calmer and help to diminish whatever fear we’re feeling.

Help Someone

This goes back to prayer and the idea that fear is based in selfishness. If we’re not being selfish, then we’re not going to be afraid either! This isn’t always the case, but it is a lot of the time.

So, if you’re scared, nervous, anxious, or feeling any of the other hundred ways fear manifests itself, go help someone! Not only will you be doing something selfless rather than selfish, but you’ll also be connecting with another human being.

That’s like a double whammy of fear beating goodness!

It doesn’t matter how much or how little you help someone out. It could be holding a door open for someone, helping an older person cross the street, or giving someone a ride. The simple fact you’re doing something for someone else is all that matter.

Take a Nap

Let me just say this isn’t the best advice. It’s not a long-term solution and offers no real emotional or mental benefits. Still, it helps in the short-term.

If you’re scared of something, whatever that may be, take a nap! The very act of falling asleep relaxes the body. It’s similar to using breathing techniques to calm down.

Plus, who doesn’t love naps? They’re like my favorite part of the day!

Powerd by Lighthouse Recovery Institute: Leaders in Gender Specific Addiction Treatment.
You or someone you love struggling with addiction? Our addiction professionals are here to help.

Music in Early-Recovery: Triggering or Awesome?

Can Listening to Certain Music Make You Relapse?

I’ve asked friends this question over the last few weeks. Their response has been overwhelmingly NO! Still, it’s a question worth asking and one that’s been on my mind a lot lately.

music in early sobriety

See, the first rehab I ever went to, way back at eighteen years old, advised me not to listen to certain music until I had a year sober. They said I shouldn’t listen to music I liked when I was using, music that glorifies drugs or alcohol, or music made by active addicts and alcoholics.

While I sort of agree with the first point, not listening to music I got high to, I don’t know about those other two ideas.

For example, I LOVE Pink Floyd. Does being in early-recovery mean I can’t listen to “Comfortably Numb?” I also love The Beatles. Does being in early-sobriety mean I can’t listen to Sgt. Pepper’s?

Maybe I’m just overthinking things. I’ve been known to do that (hello – alcoholic here!). I’m not so sure though. Let’s explore this idea of music in early-recovery being a trigger a bit more in-depth.

Were My Therapists onto Something?

I don’t believe in triggers. I’ve said it before and, most likely, I’ll say it many more times. That’s just my opinion though. Everyone has different opinions and everyone is entitled to their own! That little nugget of wisdom was learned the hard way!

So, when my therapist in rehab told me their opinions, that certain music is triggering, I initially disregarded it. They were telling me that I had to go an entire year without listening to my two favorite genres – classic rock and hip hop (weird mix, I know).

I didn’t want to hear that! I was going through ten million different things. I needed the comfort blanket that music provided me. At least, that’s what I thought at the time.

Looking back on their advice, it wasn’t half bad. Plus, they were coming from a place of compassion and care. At the time, though, I just thought they were evil old men who were out of touch with today’s culture.

Whether you believe in triggers or not, there’s something to be said for avoiding triggering events in the early days of sobriety. As we grow in our sobriety, as we effect a spiritual awakening and connection, we’re free to do whatever we want (as long as it fits within spiritual principles, of course).

Times are hard during those early days though. I don’t know if listening to Led Zeppelin would have caused me to relapse. I don’t know if listening to 50 Cent would have caused me to relapse. I don’t know if listening to the same music I nodded out to would have caused me to relapse.

But guess what? I stayed away from all that music while I was in rehab, and in the months after, and relapsed anyway.

The Case for Listening to Whatever You Want

I kind of laid this out above, but I’ll repeat it because us alcoholics and addicts are hardheaded. After we become connected to a power greater than ourselves, the obsession to drug and drink is removed. We can go anywhere, do anything, and listen to any music without being tempted to relapse.

That’s the amazing thing about spiritual sobriety – we become free! That’s certainly been the case in my own recovery and in those closest to me.

Once we do the work and become connected to a God of our own understanding, we can listen to whatever type of music we want. Triggers don’t exist once we’re at this point. Our mind and spirit have recovered from a seemingly hopeless state.

Of course, there’s a very important caveat to that statement. We have to do the work! We have to be actively practicing God-consciousness. If we’re not, well, then we still have an alcoholic mind and an alcoholic mind always leads to relapse.

If we’re suffering from untreated alcoholism/addiction and listen to “harmful” music, music from our using days or that glorifies drugs and booze, then we probably will relapse over it. It’ll bring up a lot of emotions, feelings, and cravings we don’t want to deal it. At that point, it’s in our nature to drink.

The Final Verdict

So, is music in early-recovery triggering? The answer is both yes and no. That’s my experience and opinion anyway.

What about you? What’s your experience been like with music during the early days of sobriety? Let us know on social media!

Powerd by Lighthouse Recovery Institute: Leaders in Gender Specific Addiction Treatment.
You or someone you love struggling with addiction? Our addiction professionals are here to help.

Am I an Alcoholic? Ask Yourself This One Question

One Question? It’s Really That Simple?

First, let me say that nothing written below is original. I didn’t come up with any of it. They’re my words, but the ideas all belong to twelve-step fellowships.

can you picture a life without alcohol

With that disclaimer out of the way – do you think you’re an alcoholic? Maybe you’re drinking too much on weekends. Maybe you’re drinking too much on weekdays. Maybe you’re drinking in the morning, at work, and until you pass out at night.

We all have different definitions of what alcoholism is. There’s the medical and scientific definition, the twelve-step definition, the treatment definition…the list goes on.

With all these conflicting definitions, how can anyone ever REALLY be sure they’re drinking alcoholically?

Well, dear readers, time spent in active alcoholism and in recovery have given me an answer! It’s a question to ask yourself. It’s pretty straightforward and commonsense. It shouldn’t be hard to answer either.

Can I Picture a Life Without Alcohol?

That’s it. From my time spent in the rooms of recovery (almost ten years), I’ve learned that asking yourself this simple question can speak volumes.

Can I picture a life without alcohol? If the answer is yes, then you’re probably not an alcoholic. If booze isn’t that important to you, if it’s merely something that enhances social situations or relieves a bit of stress, then you’re 99.9% not an alcoholic.

Can I picture a life without alcohol? If the answer is no, then you’re in trouble. If you absolutely cannot picture a life in which you don’t drink, something’s wrong. It doesn’t 100% mean you’re an alcoholic, but it does make things complicated.

But Fiona, you might be saying, I can’t picture a life without alcohol…but it’s only because I want to drink at my wedding!

Guess what? That’s alcoholic thinking. Again, it doesn’t mean you’re 100% an alcoholic, but that’s the type of thinking I displayed time and time again in active alcoholism.

See, my wedding isn’t guaranteed. I think I’ll get married one day, but it’s in the future and I can’t predict the future. So, if I can’t picture getting married without drinking, well, things are already looking bad. That means I can’t picture a future date, which may or may not happen, without alcohol!

Sounds a bit alcoholic to me!

Not Convinced?

Still not convinced that this simple question can help determine if you suffer from alcoholism or not? Fair enough. It’s a bold claim, right? Saying that a single question can accurately gauge a complex mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical disease is a bit of a stretch.

It’s not too much of a stretch though. Most good things in this world (religion, government, etc.) are based on simple ideas. Alcoholism is no different.

Religion is based on the idea that being connected to God and living a good life will payoff in eternity. Government is based on the idea that civilizations need a source of order and protection. Alcoholism is based on the idea that alcohol fills a void in the alcoholic.

If you can’t picture life without alcohol, well, you’re probably using it to fill a void inside your heart and soul. I say this as someone who struggled with that void for years. Guess what I eventually found out?

No amount of booze can make me feel whole. The only way I know to be “happily and usefully whole” is to be sober and be of service to others.

If you think you have a problem with alcohol, ask yourself that question. Ask yourself if you can picture a life without alcohol. Ask yourself honesty and answer honestly.

The answer may just surprise you.

Powerd by Lighthouse Recovery Institute: Leaders in Gender Specific Addiction Treatment.
You or someone you love struggling with addiction? Our addiction professionals are here to help.

Top 5 Reasons to Say No to a Rehab Romance

Don’t Fall in Love in Rehab!

Treatment isn’t fun. It’s necessary, enlightening, a space for growth, and life saving…but it isn’t fun.

I don’t know about all you, but when I went to my first treatment center all I cared about was fun. So, the gears in my faulty brain started turning. They cranked and cranked and came up with the idea of getting a boyfriend while in treatment.

rehab romance

It isn’t going to end like this…I promise

This is called a rehab romance and trust me when I say – don’t do it! Nothing good will come from it. I’m sure most of you reading this are already shaking your heads. Come on girl, you’re thinking!

I know, I know. Anyway, I figured I’d share my experience so that others don’t have to make the same mistakes I did. Enjoy!

5) It Can Wait

This isn’t really a good reason at all, but it’s true. If you meet someone you like in treatment, or if you meet someone who pays attention to you and is cute (that’s all it took for me!), save it for later.

Having a rehab romance will do a lot of things for you…none of them are positive. Plus, it’s usually breaking the rules of the treatment center. That’s addict behavior. We got sober to CHANGE our behavior, remember!

The love of your life might be around when you both get out of rehab. They might not. It doesn’t matter. Just wait.

4) The Other Person is Sick

I feel like this one goes without saying, but I’m saying it anyway. There’s a reason your perfect boyfriend ended up in rehab. That reason, hard as it may be to swallow, is because they’re sick!

Addiction and alcoholism are diseases of selfishness, dishonesty, resentment, and failed relationships (romantic, platonic, and familial). So, knowing all this, why would you get into a relationship anyway? It just doesn’t make sense!

3) You’re Sick!

Again, I feel like this one is obvious, but I’m saying it anyway because it wasn’t obvious to me!

If your new prince charming is sick…well just think about how sick you are! I was a lot of things when I entered treatment (insecure, afraid, neurotic, emotionally crippled, emotionally unavailable, jealous, full of resentment, lonely…the list goes on). You know what I wasn’t? Healthy.

Why would I want to get into a relationship with another human being when I’m not even okay on my own? Why would I want to subject another person to the madness that was inside my head at the time?

It just doesn’t make sense. Of course, most alcoholics do things that don’t make sense. Falling in love in rehab, though, takes the cake of most nonsense and silly things to do!

2) It Distracts from Therapy

Why’d you go to treatment in the first place? To get help! If you’re anything like me, you desperately needed help with just about everything in your life.

So, while in treatment, why would you do anything that distracts from getting that help? Of course, hindsight is 20/20, right? I didn’t think getting involved with a boy distracted me from therapy. I thought I was still doing my assignments and learning about myself.

And I was…to a degree. I wasn’t fully present though. Guess what I thought about at night? If you said plans for my future wedding to Bobby from Boston – you’re right!

I wasn’t concentrating on figuring out what made me tick. I wasn’t taking a fearless look inside myself for answers. I was making sure everything looked good on the outside and paying lip service to self-searching, all while dreaming about a boy. Yikes!

1) It Distracts from God

More than anything else on this list, getting involved in a rehab romance puts distance between you and your Higher Power. Do you think God wants you passing notes during smoke break? I don’t know about you, but my God definitely doesn’t!

Alcoholism and addiction are spiritual diseases. The only way to FULLY recover from them is through a spiritual experience. If we’re putting people before God, well, this just doesn’t happen.

If we’re attempting to fill the void with people, attention, compliments, or anything other than a Higher Power of our own understanding, it just doesn’t work. It’s that simple.

What are your top reasons for not having a rehab romance? Let us know on social media!

Powerd by Lighthouse Recovery Institute: Leaders in Gender Specific Addiction Treatment.
You or someone you love struggling with addiction? Our addiction professionals are here to help.

Do You Still Have an Alcoholic Mind or Are You Recovered?

Are Relapse Triggers Real?

My name is [insert generic name here] and I’m an alcoholic. My name is [insert even more generic, but still kind of hip, name here] and I’m an addict.

drug relapse triggers in sobriety

Those are words we’ve all said countless times. I know I have. I say them each morning when I wake up (just to remind myself of who and what I am), during the go around at meetings, when I raise my hand to share, and when I’m asked to speak. These words are ingrained in my consciousness.

What do they really mean though? Well, through my understanding of alcoholism and addiction, I believe they mean that I’m someone who suffers from a mental obsession, a physical allergy, and a spiritual malady.

Of course there’s a lot more that goes into being an alcoholic (selfishness, unhealthy relationships, etc.), but those three points are at the center of my alcoholism.

But guess what? Two of the three can be treated. Two of the three can be given a daily reprieve. Two of the three can be made better.

This only happens through doing the work (which isn’t really work at all but I can’t think of a better way to phrase it!). Once I admit defeat, get a sponsor, start doing stepwork, get in contact with a God of my own understanding, and start practicing spiritual principles in all my affairs, I also start getting better.

Once I do these simple things, the mental obsession is removed and the spiritual malady is reversed. Of course, they can always come back, but so long as I’m living right…they don’t. It’s that simple.

So, this has all been a long way of making a simple point – I don’t believe that triggers exist. Maybe they do in early-recovery, before we do the work, but once we get spiritual fit, well, we also say goodbye to relapse triggers.

A Bold Claim

I’m not a doctor. I’m not a therapist. I’m not a certified addiction councilor. I don’t have any fancy letters next to my name. I’m just a woman in long-term recovery from drugs and booze.

So, my claim might be a little bold. My assertion that drug relapse triggers don’t exist for spiritually fit individuals might be a little much. I stand by it 100% though.

Want to know why? Because I’m living proof of it. Myself, and millions of other men and women, are walking proof that triggers don’t exist.

Since getting sober, I’ve been around people drinking more times than I can count. You know how many times it’s phased me? How many times it’s made me want a drink myself? Not once.

I’ve been around people smoking pot (a position I don’t like to put myself in, but one that has happened) a handful of times. Did I ever want to take a hit of the joint, a puff on the pipe? Nope.

These things don’t trigger me because, and this goes back to what I mentioned above, I no longer have an alcoholic mind. I’ve recovered from a seemingly hopeless state of mind and body.

Two Things to Remember

Now there are two important, strike that two critical, things to consider – we don’t get better overnight and our spiritual condition is subject to change.

First, we don’t get better overnight. For my first six months of sobriety, I stayed away from all alcohol. If my friends were going to a bar to shoot pool, a concert, or anywhere that served alcohol, I wasn’t there.

I knew I still had an alcoholic mind. I knew I wasn’t strong enough in my recovery to be around alcohol. So I didn’t put myself in those situations. Simple as that.

Second, our spiritual condition is in constant flux. One day we may be super connected and another we may not be connected at all. It’s important to be in touch with where we’re at on any given day.

If you’re spiritually connected, triggers don’t exist. If you’re not, well, triggers can be very real. If you’re not spiritually connected, instead of going to the bar to shoot pool, it’s a good to work with another alcoholic instead.

And that isn’t just my bright idea. It says so in the Big Book and that, as they say, is that!

Powerd by Lighthouse Recovery Institute: Leaders in Gender Specific Addiction Treatment.
You or someone you love struggling with addiction? Our addiction professionals are here to help.

Halfway House Chronicles: We Didn’t Start the Fire!

We Didn’t Start the Fire!

Welcome back to Halfway House Chronicles: One Woman’s Story of Early-Sobriety. I hope you liked the first one, ‘cause I have lots more where that came from!

early recovery stories

When I was coming up with my list of which interesting experiences to write about, I kept coming back to the idea that they should be more than funny stories. I mean, fun and games are good…but where’s the value? Where’s the spiritual lesson in telling humorous stories about early-recovery?

With that in mind, all Halfway House Chronicles are going to have some sort of lesson attached to them. They’ll have some nugget of wisdom I’ve distilled from my (somewhat crazy) early-sobriety antics.

Today, I’d like to share with you all about the time I lit a fire in my sober living house and end with a reflection on God-centered thinking. Sounds like a jump, right? Then read on!

Okay, Maybe We DID Start the Fire…

I was living in the same halfway house I talked about last time. My roommates who were secretly getting high had been kicked out. I got a new roommate who I loved and, more importantly, who was working to better herself spiritually.

We’d go to meetings together, discuss the Big Book together, do yoga together, meditate together, and talk to boys together. In short, we were inseparable and not always for the best reasons!

One day, we were hanging out on the other side of our halfway house “complex” (the house was actually a bunch of apartments in a large complex). We were smoking cigarettes and talking to two boys who were up on their porch.

They started throwing little bits of gravel at us, so, of course, we threw our cigarettes up at them. Makes sense, right? Oh the strange logic of early-sobriety!

Anyway, one of our cigarettes must have fallen from their porch to the bushes in front of us ‘cause, within a minute or two, we noticed A LOT of smoke coming from the bush. We’d accidently lit it on fire!

halfway house chronicles

this is what the fire looked like in my head!

I started freaking out and yelling about how we were going to get kicked out (I probably should have been yelling about how we could have burned the place down). Thankfully, my roommate was more levelheaded. She ran up into the boys’ apartment, grabbed a bucket of water, and dumped it on the bush.

That got rid of the fire and the immediate emergency. At our house meeting a few days later, my roommate and I got called out for going into the boys’ apartment. Apparently someone had seen my roommate run into their house to get water!

I was furious because a) I hadn’t gone into their apartment and b) my roommate only did it to extinguish the fire! I tried explaining that to the owner and house managers. Of course, they weren’t very understanding. They didn’t kick us out, but we were now on thin ice.

And they were right! One of the house managers, the same one who’d given me such good advice when I called her about my old roommates using, took me aside and gave me some MORE advice I still remember to this day.

A Lesson in Humility & God

Here’s where the lesson I was talking about earlier enters the picture (told you we’d get there!). This woman, who I now think was an angel sent into my life to help me during early-recovery, told me a few things.

First, she pointed out that my roommate and myself wouldn’t have had to get water to extinguish the fire if we hadn’t been at the boys’ apartment in the first place. Okay, that’s pretty obvious right? It hit me like a ton of bricks!

She explained that I was looking for attention and outside validation, which is normal for an alcoholic, when I should have been looking to strengthen my relationship with God.

She sat down with me (ironically right in front of where we’d started the fire!) and explained the difference between God-centered thinking and selfish thinking. God-centered thinking, she said, was when someone prayed and meditated and thought of how they could help people.

Selfish thinking, on the other hand, was what most alcoholics were used to. It was thinking about only ourselves and how to get what we want.

She then explained that although I was upset over this whole situation (and on early-curfew!), I could use it as a source of humility and a way to start practicing God-centered thinking. She told me that us alcoholics don’t learn things easily, that we have to bang out heads on the wall a few times to learn a simple lesson.

I can fortunately say I took her advice. I began to pray and meditate more seriously. I began to practice God-centered thinking AND living. Guess what? I haven’t started a fire since! That, my friends, is a miracle!

Powerd by Lighthouse Recovery Institute: Leaders in Gender Specific Addiction Treatment.
You or someone you love struggling with addiction? Our addiction professionals are here to help.

5 Reasons Getting Sober is Harder for Women Than Men!

It’s Hard Out Here for a Girl!

harder for women to get sober than men

Getting sober is harder for women than it is for men. Can I get an amen? Or can I get an awomen!

I say that and stand behind it 100%. Don’t believe me? That’s fine. I’m here to change your mind. I’m here to shift your opinion from point A to point B.

Isn’t that what recovery is all about? Changing our thinking (and actions and behaviors)? So, there’s no long windup here. Let’s get to the facts. Without further ado, find the top five reasons getting sober is harder for women than men.

5) It’s Hard to Trust Other Women

Like the rest of this list, this shouldn’t be the case…but it is! When I got sober, I hated spending time with women. I viewed them as catty, shallow, and always ready to stab me in the back. I was proud to call myself one of the boys.

Of course, it turns out that was just my sick thinking. I made my home group a women’s meeting. I started reaching out to, and spending time with, sober women. I got to see what recovery and sobriety were really about.

These things changed my mind. Today, I’m proud to call myself one of the girls!

4) Dealing with Other Behaviors

I don’t know about any of you out there, reading this on your computer and phone screens, but I didn’t only struggle with addiction. I was balancing addiction, alcoholism, an eating disorder, mental illness, codependency, and insecurities.

Not only did I have to face my demons as they related to alcohol and drugs, but I also had to seek help for these other issues. It wasn’t easy! I don’t know if men go through this kind of stuff, but I know more than a few women who have.

I got involved in a twelve-step fellowship. I sought outside therapy and counseling for my eating disorder. I sought psychiatric help for my depression and anxiety. I sought more therapy and counseling for my codependency and insecurities.

At the end of the day, I was exhausted…but I was also getting better! Dealing with these other behaviors and issues was tough. It’s one of the main reasons I think it’s harder for women to get sober than men.

3) Predators in the Rooms

13th step predators

Raise your hand if you’ve been in a meeting and glanced around the room only to find a creep ogling you. Oh, everyone’s hand is up? Huh, this must be more common than I thought.

Any which way you cut it, there are some real predators in the rooms of recovery. It doesn’t matter what fellowship you go to, who you surround yourself with, or how hard you’re working on your issues…predators are there. They’re there to try to 13th step you. I’ve seen it happen time and time again.

This literally makes me sick.

There are more than just sexual predators too. I can’t tell you how many times people at meetings have hit me up for money or a place to stay. Yes, there’s such a thing as service. Helping your fellow alcoholic is VERY important. There’s a line though and these predators cross it.

2) False Standards of Beauty

The entire world has an idea of how a woman “should” look. It usually has something to do with bleach-blonde hair, a large chest, and a tiny waist. It also has to do with how we dress and act.

It’s tough to get sober (which involves dealing with painful emotions, long forgotten memories, a boatload of insecurities, and everything else) and have to deal with society forcing their idea of beautiful on you. It’s damn tough!

You know what I think? I think women should look any way we want! We should eat whatever we want. We should dress however we want. We should act however we want (making sure to live within spiritual principles of course).

If you agree, then you’re not pushing false societal standards of beauty on women. If you don’t, well, case in point. It’s hard out here for a girl!

1) Sexism

Sexism exists. It’s unfortunate but it’s true. In fact, all four points above are, at their most basic, examples of sexism. It isn’t cool, it isn’t fair, it isn’t anything positive at all, but it’s there.

There’s not much to say about sexism. It just doesn’t seem to go away, BUT if we band together as women, as women in recovery, things will get better. Slowly but surely they will. I promise you that.

Powerd by Lighthouse Recovery Institute: Leaders in Gender Specific Addiction Treatment.
You or someone you love struggling with addiction? Our addiction professionals are here to help.

Halfway House Chronicles

Early-Recovery is Crazy!

halfway house chronicles

The title says it all – early-recovery is crazy! We’re a whirlwind of emotions (mainly negative ones!), fear, insecurity, anxiety, highs and lows, and all sorts of madness.

It’s not all bad though. It’s also the time when we grow the most! Think about it like this – when we’re at ground zero, there’s nowhere to go but up. I probably grew more, and learned more about myself, in my first six months of sobriety than at any other time in my life.

This column, the newest from Sobriety for Women, will focus on the good, the bad, and the ugly. Admittedly, there’s usually more bad and ugly than good! So, to start things off, let me tell you all about the night I moved into what would become my final halfway house.

A Halfway House Horror Story

I “transferred” halfway houses at around ninety days sober. I say transferred because, to tell the truth, I was kicked out of the halfway house I’d been living in. I didn’t drink or get high, but I wasn’t living by spiritual principles. I was making selfish and impulsive decisions and, wouldn’t you know it, got kicked out.

So there I was, ninety days sober and effectively homeless. I scrambled and found another sober living residence that was willing to take me without a security deposit. Thank God for the kindness of women in this program!

I moved in around dinnertime that night. I met the owner, the house managers, and my new roommates. It turns out I actually knew one of the women living there. We’d previously lived together in another halfway! South Florida is a small place, friends!

This woman, let’s call her “Martha,” was a chronic relapser. I had been too for quite some time, so who was I to judge?

I emerged from my room later that night, around midnight I think, and found Martha and another of our roommates sitting in the living room with belts around their arms. The coffee table was littered with powder, burnt spoons, orange syringe caps, and a bent and dull needle.

To say I was shocked was a bit of an understatement. Just a few hours earlier, the owner had stood in our living room and talked about the power of honesty, willingness, and spiritual living. Martha and our other roommate stood there nodding their heads.

Fast forward to midnight and they were nodding their heads in a completely different way. I didn’t know what to do! I knew what I should do, but there’s a huge difference between should and taking that action.

One thing was for sure though, I knew I didn’t want to get high. I retreated back to my room and called the owner. I was shaking as I called! I didn’t want Martha and the other girl to hate me! Still, I knew if I didn’t talk to someone ASAP than I’d join them. That’s just how addiction works.

The owner didn’t answer, so I called a house manager. She told me to do nothing tonight and they would kick the girls out tomorrow. She told me that, if I needed to, I could leave and sleep on her couch for the night.

We talked for close to an hour. I slept in my new halfway house (halfway home!) that night. After we got off the phone, I prayed for a good thirty minutes or so. I asked God for the strength to stay sober.

The following morning, Martha and our other roommate were kicked out. It wasn’t the big deal I’d made it into in my mind the night before. The owner came over, drug tested them, and they left. It was that simple.

The Power of God

The only reason I stayed sober that night was because of God and the house manager I spoke to. I truly believe that woman was an instrument of God working to help me!

early recovery sober living

I’d been kicked out of a halfway house that day. I wasn’t living by spiritual principles. I moved into somewhere new, someplace outside of my comfort zone. I saw a woman I was friendly with (calling her my friend might be too much, but we were certainly friendly).

Then, hours later, drugs were placed in front of me. There’s no reason I should have stayed sober. All signs pointed towards relapse. But I didn’t! God was doing for me what I couldn’t do for myself.

That night was the start of my REAL recovery. That night was the start of me listening to, and learning from, others. Although it’s a crazy story, it also displays a powerful and simple truth – we only need to do the right thing to tap into a spiritual power beyond our understanding.

Powerd by Lighthouse Recovery Institute: Leaders in Gender Specific Addiction Treatment.
You or someone you love struggling with addiction? Our addiction professionals are here to help.

How a Recovering Alcoholic Should Run for President

By: Tim Myers

Good Evening People of the United States,

Well, my wife and I are here before you today to announce that the rumors are true. I, Timothy K. Myers, am running for President of The United States of America.

Over the next year my opponents are going to say a lot of things about me. Many of them, probably most of them, will be negative. Some will be true and some will be false. Listen, I can handle any mud they decide to fling. What I cannot handle is lies.

how a recovering alcoholic should run for president

I don’t think it’s okay for politicians to lie to the American people. So, right here, right now, even before my fellow candidates have a chance to tell the world all the horrible things about me, I’m going to do it for them. At least this way, you, the American people, will have the facts.

I am a recovering alcoholic and drug addict. I have not used drugs or alcohol for over four years. I went to a meeting today and I’ll go to one tomorrow. I don’t plan on this changing and I don’t plan on drinking ever again. Yes, obviously, in the past I drank too much and I did some pretty bad things.

This one time I drove drunk…and then I drove drunk about 300 more times. I never got caught. Go ahead check for an arrest record. I did get charged with criminal trespassing though.

I was nineteen and ran on to a professional baseball field drunk (as I’m sure you can imagine). I just wanted to play in the big leagues, you know! Anyway, the cops got one time called because I vandalized my dorm in college. Not just my dorm room, the entire dorm. We threw all the toilets out the window and all the mirrors and all the sinks. I didn’t get in trouble though. See, I informed on my roommate.

I failed out of three colleges, but finally got my music business degree. Not sure that will help me as President, but Jay-Z thinks I’m cool.

I had a bunch of girlfriends and can’t remember most of their names. I’m sure they’ll remember mine though. As soon as I start appearing on TV, you’ll see them on CNN too.

Guess how many rehabs I’ve been to? Nine. That’s a record.

I visited about a dozen crack houses. I bet I’m going to be the only President who did that. I call it getting to know my constituents.

alcoholic politicians

I once was so drunk I got hit by a train… and lived! Now, if you ask me, I want a President who got hit by a train. That’s one tough Commander and Chief.

Oh and I died once. Yup, died. I drove drunk, crashed my car, and my lungs and heart stopped. Thank God for Ben Franklin, ‘cause those paddles shocked me back to life in a hurry! No need for a VP folks. I already died once, it’s not going to happen again. It’s impossible.

Okay, about the drugs, I tired ‘em all except heroin. I mean, I gave Tiffany money to get me some, but she always came back high, with no money, and no heroin for me. I don’t get it. I did love cocaine though.

Also, in the last 4 years I got a job, a career, helped over 100 men stay sober, met a woman, got married, bought a home, bought two cars, a dog, and two cats. I pay my bills, pay my taxes, and people love me.

I made mistakes. I will not make them again. I’ve been in the ditch, so I can show America the way out.

My name is Tim Myers. I am an alcoholic and I am running for President. So, what were those bad things you were going say about me?

Powerd by Lighthouse Recovery Institute: Leaders in Gender Specific Addiction Treatment.
You or someone you love struggling with addiction? Our addiction professionals are here to help.

My Dog Helps Me Stay Sober!

By: Tim Myers

Man’s Best Friend

My dog keeps me sober. Or I guess you could say he helps. He doesn’t go to meetings, doesn’t have a sponsor, and he has never worked a step. When he talks, I can’t understand a single thing he says. He’s very good at listening.

I can say things to him that I can’t say to another human being. When I’m done I feel so much better because at least I’m not holding on to them any more.

my dog helps me stay sober

If I want to sleep in, well, I can’t because he needs to go out. If I want to skip work, you guessed it, I can’t because I need to make money to pay for the massive amount of dog food I have to buy. I feed him twice a day, walk him three times, and play with him as much as I can. He has a pretty tight schedule, so I do too.

He keeps on task, on time, and on point. He brings a rigidity and structure to my life that I have never had before. Want to stay out late? I can’t, he needs me. Want to blow out of town for Vegas? I can’t, he needs me. My dog, in a way, makes sure I’m everywhere I need to be, when I need to be there. You see…he needs me.

I need him too. When I’m sad, depressed, and worn out, he’s there. He thinks everything is cool and funny and he picks me up when I’m down. Want to meet women? Want to meet men? Want to meet friends? He’s great for that.

Feel like rushing into a relationship because you’re lonely? Don’t bother if you’ve got a dog like I’ve got mine. There’s always something to do with him and he always wants to do something. Boredom, isolation, and fear? Haven’t seen them since I got my dog.

I’ve been a part of his life since he was three months old. I’ve seen him grow, develop, change, fall, get back up, learn, smile, and poop. He’s seen me grow, develop, change, fall, get back up, learn, smile, and poop.

I’ve worried about him and he’s worried about me. I’ve taken care of him and he’s taken care of me. I give 100% for him expecting nothing in return. Well, I expect that he won’t bite me. He gives 100% to me expecting nothing in return. Well, he expects treats.

My dog has never been to a meeting and has no idea that I’m an alcoholic, yet he has helped me more than a lot of people in recovery. Many people in recovery have helped me get to where I am today, but many have hurt me as well and, yes, I have hurt people too. But my dog hasn’t.

He steers me toward the right direction every single day. He’s never faltered and he never will. He loves me for me and, through this relationship, I’ve learned to treat people better. I have learned the meaning of friendship.

My dog has never seen me drunk and as long as I have God, AA, and a dog…he never will.

Powerd by Lighthouse Recovery Institute: Leaders in Gender Specific Addiction Treatment.
You or someone you love struggling with addiction? Our addiction professionals are here to help.