Faith Facts Friday With Fiona

Written By: Fiona Stockard

The Big Book Broken Down – Part Nine

Alcoholics Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who help each other to recover from alcohol and drug addiction. It was founded in June of 1935, just celebrated its seventy-ninth anniversary, and boasts over two million members.

AA’s central text is the Big Book. With a sponsor and a Big Book, AA members work the twelve steps, and “recover from a seemingly hopeless state of mind and body” (title page).

Big Book

Today, I’ll be breaking down step eleven from the chapter “Into Action”

Step Eleven

Step eleven is “Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of God’s will for us and the power to carry that out.”

That’s a mouthful! Step eleven is longer than any of the other twelve-steps. It’s also sort of overwhelming! Just how do I improve my conscious contact with God? How do I learn God’s will?

Fear not! The Big Book gives us some concrete instructions on how to increase our contact with God as we understand God!

Into Action says that, at the end of our day, we might try asking ourselves the following questions –

“Were we resentful, selfish, dishonest or afraid? Do we own an apology? Have we kept something to ourselves which should be discussed with another person at once? Were we kind and loving towards all? What could we have done better? Were we thinking of ourselves most of the time? Or were we thinking of what we could do for others, of what we could pack into the stream of life?” (p. 86).

I’ve never been able to answer all those questions to my satisfaction (probably because, as an alcoholic, I’m also a perfectionist!). Remember though, it’s spiritual progress, not perfection!

I don’t have to be perfect. I don’t have to go through my day afraid of making any mistakes. Nope. I just have to make sure to review my conduct. I have to figure out where I fell short and work to do better.

That’s one of my favorite parts of Alcoholics Anonymous. It doesn’t matter how often I fall short of my goals. I only have to be willing to do better, to be better. God makes the rest possible!

Into Action then talks about morning meditation. It says,

“We consider our plans for the day. Before we begin, we ask God to direct our thinking, especially asking that it be divorced from self-pity, dishonest or self-seeking motives…We usually conclude the period of meditation with a prayer that we be shown all through the day what our next step is to be, that we be given whatever we need to take care of such problems. We ask especially for freedom from self-will…” (pp. 86-87).

That’s easy enough. It has been for me, anyway. Each morning, I meditate and pray. It took awhile to get into the routine, to make it a daily habit. The benefits I felt on the mornings I prayed and meditated, though, made it easy to incorporate into my life.

What about during the day, though? The Big Book has that covered, too. It reads, “In thinking about our day we may face indecision. We may not be able to determine which course to take. Here we ask God for inspiration, an intuitive thought or a decision” (p. 86).

Again, easy enough, right? But what about when something bad happens during the day? That’s a bit harder. Into Action reads,

“As we go through the day we pause, when agitated or doubtful, and ask for the right thought or action. We constantly remind ourselves we are no longer running the show, humbly saying to ourselves many times each day ‘Thy will be done.’ We are then in much less danger of excitement, fear, anger, worry, self-pity, or foolish decisions” (pp. 87-88)

That’s hard! When I’m angry, upset, scared, or anything else, I don’t want to pause and pray! I want to get angry! That’s a character defect that just doesn’t seem to go away. Remember though, it’s progress not perfection!

Tune in next week for a breakdown of step twelve!

Grateful Alcoholics Don’t Drink?

Written By: Fiona Stockard

Articles are the sole work of the individual author and do not express the opinion of Sobriety for Women.

Grateful Alcoholics Don’t Drink?

stopthebs

If you’re in recovery, you go to meetings. If you go to meetings, you hear corny sayings. If you hear corny sayings, you’ve heard “grateful alcoholics don’t drink.” So, by the transitive property, if you’re in recovery, you’ve heard that grateful alcoholics don’t drink.

I hate that saying, okay? It’s clichéd, shallow, corny, and worst of all, misleading! Now, before you write me off as a ranting and raving lunatic, let me explain.

Why I Hate That Saying

“Grateful alcoholics don’t drink” isn’t inherently bad. I mean, if you know the true meaning of gratitude, you probably won’t drink (or get high). Okay, sounds reasonable. Besides, gratitude is an important part of sobriety.

Here’s the thing though, the saying is used as a sort of band-aid AA. It’s right up there with “don’t drink and go to meetings,” “meeting makers make it,” “put the plug in the jug,” and “easy does it.” Hey, someone should write articles about those too!

Let me explain something very clearly. Alcoholics drink. Grateful alcoholics drink. Sober alcoholics drink. Drunk alcoholics drink. Alcoholics in any form drink. We drink because we’re alcoholic and we’re alcoholic because we drink. We drink because we don’t have a choice and we don’t have a choice because we drink.

However, once you do the work, you have a choice about whether to drink or not. Do what work?, you ask. I thought I only had to go to meetings?, you ask. Here’s the reason why “grateful alcoholics don’t drink,” and all those other sayings, suck.

Do Some Work

I didn’t get sober until I got off my butt and did some work. I sat in meetings immediately after shooting up. I relapsed over and over and over again, until the day I decided to try something different.

When I say I did some work, or that I tried something different, I’m talking about working the twelve-steps. You’d be surprised how many people go to meetings and don’t work the steps. Well, maybe you wouldn’t. Maybe you’ve sat in meetings and seen the girl nodding off.

See, AA wasn’t designed around meetings. In fact, meetings came about as an offshoot of doing step-work. Bill W., Dr. Bob, and the other original AA’s met weekly to talk about issues in their lives. They met to encourage each other and provide a safe haven for new members. They met in each other’s houses and had meetings downstairs. Upstairs, sponsor and sponsee would be working the steps together. Guess what? Everyone wanted to be upstairs. They knew that was where you started to get better.

When we first get sober (or dry, if we’re using the correct term), we sit in meetings and are literally insane. We don’t know what it is to be sane. Yeah, we’re not drinking or drugging, but we’re not better! We’re still delusional, selfish, and manipulative. Simply put, we’re still sick.

So, how do we get better? We get a sponsor and start to get in touch with a god of our own understanding. We have honest talks with our sponsor. We write down the people we don’t like. We write down our fears, our character defects, and our sexual escapades. We write down the people we’ve hurt, then we go out and make things right with those people. Simply put, we work the steps!

After Doing Some Work You Probably Won’t Drink

See, gratitude is a verb. You can’t sit in meetings and be grateful for being there. You can’t be in south Florida and be grateful for the palm trees. You can’t white-knuckle being dry and be grateful for “being sober.” No, in order to be grateful for anything you need to put the work in.

Know what I’m grateful for today? I’m grateful my parents answer the phone when I call. I’m grateful I can show up for work. I’m grateful I have friends. Know how I got those things? Well, I made amends to my parents and then stopped screwing them over. I got a job and showed up everyday, whether I wanted to or not. I talked to people and showed them, through my actions, that I was worthy of friendship.

In each of those cases, work was involved. After doing the work, and feeling the peace that came from it, I’m able to be grateful. After doing the work, I’m able to appreciate things.

So, you want to be a grateful alcoholic who doesn’t drink? Get a sponsor, work the twelve-steps, start getting in touch with god as you understand god, make things right, and show up for life. Otherwise, you’re going to get drunk.

Mental Illness as a Spectator Sport: A Reaction to Amanda Bynes

The Article Heard Round the World: Amanda Bynes and Mental Illness

amanda bynes mental illness

Last week, a young writer name Sam Dylan Finch shed a very human perspective on Amanda Bynes and her ongoing struggles with mental illness.

The essay was, simply put, breathtaking. Since being published, it’s gone very viral. Sam explores how we as a culture view, and react to, celebrities with mental illness. Perhaps the best point made is the discrepancy between how we reacted to the death of Robin Williams and how we’re currently treating Amanda Bynes.

Laughter & Mental Illness: A Not So Subtle Hint to Treat Amanda Bynes with Compassion

We treat those with mental illness, and addiction, very differently when they’re alive and when they’re dead. For that matter, we treat average women suffering from mental illness, or addiction, very different from a suffering celebrity.

Why is this? Why do we place celebrities on a pedestal, while also tearing them down? Why do we view Amanda Bynes as the punch line of a joke and Robin Williams as a tragic reminder of our humanity? Why do we treat celebrity mental illness as entertainment instead of a deadly sickness?

Oh dear readers, I wish I knew! I don’t have an easy answer. I don’t think there is an easy answer. I think we’re human and messy and contradictory. I think we like to idolize celebrities and believe fame is possible, only to tear them down and make ourselves feel better.

For that matter, I think we treat celebrity mental illness differently than “normal” mental illness because celebrities seem untouchable. None of us really know what Amanda Bynes is going through. Hell, we don’t even know if she is mentally ill. While it’s clear something serious and tragic is happening in her life, she has yet to confirm any diagnosis.

So, assuming Amanda does suffer from schizophrenia, bipolar, or any form of mental illness, we still don’t understand her struggle (even those of us who have these same mental illnesses!). Maybe we treat celebrity mental illness differently because, surprise, it is different.

Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t think we should mock Amanda Bynes. I hate that she’s the butt of jokes. I hate that I’ve made these jokes. I hate that watching her Twitter is akin to watching TV for some people. Still, her experience with mental illness is very different than mine. Her experience with mental illness is very different than yours. Her experience with mental illness is just that, her experience.

Are We Bad People for Laughing? A Critical Look at Our Reactions to Mental Illness & Death

Sam’s essay made me question my reaction to Amanda Bynes and her public unraveling. It also made me question my reaction to the death of Robin Williams.

When Robin Williams took his life, as a direct result of mental illness, I mourned. I wasn’t alone. Our entire nation mourned. We celebrated too. We celebrated the life, career, and personality of a wonderful man. We celebrated the legacy of a one-of-a-kind comedian and social critic.

Why is it that in death, be it from mental illness or addiction, we mourn the sufferer? Why is it that we wait until they’re gone to celebrate their achievements? Why don’t we try to help while they’re alive?

Again, I wish I knew! I can’t come up with a single reason I haven’t tried to help Amanda Bynes (in whatever small and tiny way I can). I can’t come up with a single reason I don’t have the same compassion for her that I have for a woman who walks into a meeting.

Why is that? Why do we laugh rather than help? Why do we mourn afterwards, instead of offering help during?

Let’s start the conversation with those questions. If we keep asking ourselves why, sooner or later we’re going to have to answer. If we keep the fact that Amanda Bynes is sick, rather than simply crazy, at the forefront of our minds, maybe we’ll show her the same compassion we show each other.

Robin Williams’ Daughter Gets Tattoo for Her Father

Zelda Williams, Robin Williams Daughter, Reveals Her New Ink

robin williams daughter tattoo

Without giving in to hyperbole, it’s safe to say that Robin Williams death shocked the nation. We lost an actor, comedian, and social critic with few peers.

In the wake of his passing, a conversation was sparked about mental illness, depression, and effective mental health treatment. That’s been the silver lining – a renewed and honest look at how we can help those suffering from mental illness.

Robin Williams daughter Zelda is keeping the conversation going. She recently revealed, via Instagram, a touching memorial to her father. It’s a tattoo of a hummingbird with Robin’s birthday underneath.

Hummingbirds have a unique appeal to the Williams family. They can be seen throughout almost all of Robin Williams movies. His memorial service also featured wristbands with hummingbirds on them.

Thank you for reminding us about your father, Zelda. More importantly, thank you for continuing the conversation your father starter. We can all change!

The Risky Game: An Overdose Poem

An Unintended Overdose

risky game an overdose poem

One of our wonderful fans, the talented Ariana Galante, sent us this poem.

Ariana’s a high school junior from Pennsylvania. She wrote “The Risky Game” after her school hosted a drug awareness seminar.

She was moved by this seminar, saying it brought back memories of her experience with a family member’s addiction. She lived in constant fear of losing her sister. Today, she says, her sister is doing great and has been sober for a few years.

Thanks Ariana! You rock!

If any other Sobriety For Women fans would like to send us work, shoot an email to info@sobrietyforwomen.com. Remember, we can all change!

The Risky Game

One time.
One chance.
I take the risk.
Will it be my last?

Heavy eyes,
dizzy head,
I lay down,
on my bed.

Hurry please!
Come get me now!
Find me!
I’m beginning to drown.

I doze off.
I drift.
Flying high,
but now stiff.

She enters.
Sees me lying here,
coming closer,
touches my hair.

I’m cold.
She falls.
Grabs her phone,
and makes that call.

That dreaded day,
we are now apart,
my mistake,
her broken heart.

But for me,
what seemed like a fun time,
careless actions,
turned into the way I died.

–Ariana Galante

Faith Facts Friday With Fiona

Written By: Fiona Stockard

The Big Book Broken Down – Part Eight

Alcoholics Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who help each other to recover from alcohol and drug addiction. It was founded in June of 1935, just celebrated its seventy-ninth anniversary, and boasts over two million members.

AA’s central text is the Big Book. With a sponsor and a Big Book, AA members work the twelve steps, and “recover from a seemingly hopeless state of mind and body” (title page).

Big Book

Today, I’ll be breaking down step ten from the chapter “Into Action”

Step Ten

Step ten is “Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.”

This is the cornerstone of our spiritual growth! If we want to continue to grow in the image of likeness of God as we understand God, we must be vigilant! Taking a daily inventory is how we stay vigilant. It’s how we nurture our souls. It’s how we, as women in sobriety, become women of grace and dignity.

It’s important to remember that our daily inventory can take many different forms. It doesn’t have to be a written reflection of our day before bed. It can be a spot check, or throughout the day, inventory. It can be a morning meditation followed by periodic “God check-ins.”

Like most aspects of AA, it’s personal to each woman. Whatever sort of inventory allows us to connect with God is the sort of inventory we should be doing. In fact, the Big Book says,

“Continue to watch for selfishness, dishonesty, resentment, and fear. When these crop up, we ask God at once to remove them. We discuss them with someone immediately and make amends quickly if we have harmed anyone” (p. 84).

If we take this sort of inventory on a daily basis, our lives change dramatically. Into Action then lists the Tenth Step Promises. This is a wonderful section of the Big Book that requires its own, in-depth, exploration. Expect an article soon!

It’s hard to keep up this level of spiritual action and growth. Into Action addresses this idea, too. It says, “It is easy to let up on our spiritual program of action and rest on our laurels. We are headed for trouble if we do, for alcohol is a subtle foe” (p. 85).

That’s the truth! Growing in the image and likeness of a Higher Power isn’t easy! Pain is a great motivator, but what about when our lives get good? What about when pain fades and is replaced by freedom and happiness?

Well, the Big Book reads, “We are not cured of alcoholism. What we really have is a daily reprieve contingent on the maintenance of our spiritual condition” (p. 85).

If we don’t stay vigilant, if we don’t keep up this level of spiritual growth, we lose our daily reprieve. In turn, the mental obsession returns and we drink. It’s that simple.

Into Action then offers suggestions for how we can carry God with us, despite the many inevitable struggles of life. It says,

“’How can I best serve Thee – Thy will (not mine) be done.’ These are thoughts which must go with us constantly. We can exercise our will power along this line all we wish. It is the proper use of the will” (p. 85)

I love this idea! Of course, it’s easier said than done. When I get upset, angry, or experience any strong emotion, it’s hard to keep God’s will at the forefront of my thinking. Still, if I strive to maintain an attitude of God-centered thought, I can’t go wrong.

I also love the idea that once we’ve established a spiritual connection with God, we’re able to use our will effectively. I didn’t get sober to be in constant indecision! I got sober to be a strong and independent woman. I’m always dependent upon God, though.

This idea, of God-consciousness being vital to long-term sobriety, ends the section on the tenth step. Into Actions says, “To some extent we have become God-conscious. We have begun to develop this vital sixth sense. But we must go further and that means more action” (p. 85).

There’s always more action! The book is talking about the eleventh step, which goes hand-in-hand with the tenth. Tune in next week to learn about prayer and meditation!

Faith Facts Friday With Fiona

Written By: Fiona Stockard

The Big Book Broken Down – Part Seven

Alcoholics Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who help each other to recover from alcohol and drug addiction. It was founded in June of 1935, just celebrated its seventy-ninth anniversary, and boasts over two million members.

AA’s central text is the Big Book. With a sponsor and a Big Book, AA members work the twelve steps, and “recover from a seemingly hopeless state of mind and body” (title page).

Big Book

Today, I’ll be breaking down steps eight and nine from the chapter “Into Action”

Step Eight

Step eight is “Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.” Sounds kind of scary, huh?

Steps eight and nine, much like the fourth and fifth steps, have this mystique of fear around them. We make a list of everyone we’ve harmed, go over that list with our sponsor, and make amends. That’s scary stuff for an alcoholic like me, who thrived on avoiding uncomfortable situations and lying to everyone!

We shouldn’t be worried, though. It turns out we already have our eighth step list. See, when we were doing the fourth step, we wrote a list of everyone we’d harmed. That’s our eighth step list right there.

Of course, having this list and working up the courage and willingness to face those people are two very different things! Fear not, dear readers, we just have to pray for willingness. It’ll come. The Big Book promises us that.

Step Nine

Step nine is “Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.”

Now that we have the willingness to go out and make amends, how do we actually make them?

Well, the first thing Into Action tells us to remember is – “To some people we need not, and probably should not emphasis the spiritual feature on our first approach” (76).

Sounds good to me! When I was making amends, I was very hesitant to announce I’d found God. After all, I was living a spiritual life, but most people mistake that for a religious life. I didn’t want to make amends and have the person think I’d become some sort of religious monk!

Next, the book lays out one of the most important distinctions of the ninth step. We’re making amends, not simply apologizing. To wit, “[S]he is going to be more interested in a demonstration of good will than in our talk of spiritual discoveries” (77).

I love that! Making amends demands not only words, but action! Later in the chapter, this idea is once again brought up. “A remorseful mumbling that we are sorry won’t fit the bill at all” (83).

You’re right I was sorry…I was living a pretty sorry life! Amend means to change, to alter. We can’t alter past wrongs with an apology. If I stole my mom’s Rolex, saying I’m sorry isn’t enough. Not even close. I need to get her a new Rolex or at least start giving her money (Rolex’s are expensive!).

To really drive this point home, that our amends consist of action and more action, the chapter contains another wonderful quote. It reads, “Our behavior will convince them more than our words. We must remember that ten or twenty years of drunkenness would make a skeptic out of anyone” (83).

Don’t listen to my mouth, watch my feet. Whatever direction they’re going is the truth, is my truth.

Getting back to how exactly to make amends, Into Action offers some great suggestions. I had to make amends to quite a few people I disliked. They cover that. “It is harder to go to an enemy than to a friend, but we find it much more beneficial to us…His faults are not discussed. We stick to our own. If our manner is calm, frank, and open, we will be gratified by the result” (77-78).

Yeah, making amends to people I disliked sucked. It was SO necessary though. The feeling of peace and spiritual alignment I left those amends with? It was nothing short of pure freedom and serenity.

What about making amends to someone who doesn’t want to hear us? Into Action has that covered, too. It reads, “In nine cases out of ten the unexpected happens…It should not matter, however, if someone does throw us out of his [or her] office. We have made our demonstration, done our part” (78).

My sponsor made sure to point that out before I started making amends. “Not everyone is going to take your amends well,” she said, “you may get cursed out a few times.”

Dang! You know what though? It doesn’t matter. I made my amends anyway. I cleaned up my side of the street. I cleared away my wreckage of the past. The rest is in God’s hands. If someone doesn’t want to accept my amends, they have the right to refuse it.

The chapter goes on to give specific examples of owing money, domestic problems, having committed crimes, and generally having been an a*shole. The consensus is that we check with God, our sponsor, and other trusted friends before making amends. After all, sometimes we shouldn’t make a direct amends. Sometimes (and I can’t stress this enough, only sometimes), making a direct amends hurts someone more than it helps.

What do we do in cases like that? Simple. We make an indirect amends. That’s when we do some other sort of good deed to make right the past. In my case, in high school, I stole money from a Hispanic classmate. I didn’t know her name or where to find her. So, I donated the amount of money I stole to a Hispanic charity. This was after a lot of discussion with my sponsor and praying, of course!

Step nine in the Big Book ends by listing the ninth step promises. I’d write them out here, but I think they deserve a more thorough examination. Look for that article soon! And look for the next installment of Faith Facts next week!

Big Book Thumper: Work Steps or Die!

Written By: Fiona Stockard

Hardcore Sobriety

official-big-book-thumper-button

I was lucky enough to get sober with a bunch of Big Book thumpers. Actually, scratch that, I don’t know if I’d have gotten sober without them. Really, I was graced enough to be given the gift of sobriety from a bunch of Big Book thumpers.

If you’ve been sober for any length of time, you probably know what a book thumper is. If you haven’t, let me tell you!

Big Book thumpers are individuals in recovery who stress the importance of working the twelve-steps and spreading a message of hope, straight from Alcoholics Anonymous, more commonly known as the Big Book.

These are the women at meetings who aren’t afraid to call bulls**t when they see it. They’re the one’s who’ll crosstalk, giving newcomers the advice they so desperately need to hear. They’re the ones you see smiling and laughing until the conversation turns to the steps, then they get deadly serious.

In short, they’re the ones saving lives.

Going to Rehab & My Introduction to Book Thumpers

I didn’t get sober the first time I tried to. Like many alcoholics, it took me a few tries. That isn’t to say it’s impossible to be a one-chip wonder, plenty of people are. Still, most alcoholics I know needed to be beaten up pretty good before they became willing.

I was living in a halfway house in Delray Beach. I was going to aftercare and twelve-step meetings everyday. I also couldn’t stop drinking and drugging. Eventually, I ended up back in rehab. This was the definition of a blessing in disguise!

While in treatment, a group of women heavily involved in H&I (Hospitals and Institutions) brought meetings in. These were hardcore book thumpers! I didn’t take their numbers, or even talk to them really, but a seed of hope was planted.

Getting Sober Thanks to Book Thumpers

Seeing these women and their passion for spreading the message of recovery, gave me hope. Plus, they were saying things I’d never heard before. They didn’t rehash the same old “don’t drink and go to meetings” slogans. Good things they didn’t! Not drinking and going to meetings kept me sick! If I could simply not drink, I wouldn’t need twelve-step recovery in the first place!

Instead, they were saying things like “Selfishness – self-centeredness! That, we think, is the root of our troubles” (Big Book, p. 62).

Or, “Instead, the problem [alcoholism] has been removed. It does not exist for us” (Big Book, p. 85).

They were calling themselves recovered alcoholics. What an idea! You mean I had a chance to recover? To get better? Not to sit around, miserable as f**k, until I inevitability drank again?

The 12-Steps & Staying Sober in the Real World

And then came the fateful day when I got out of treatment. I wasn’t in the safe and protected rehab bubble anymore. I was in the real world. Was I going to stay sober?

Well, a close friend took me to a meeting she described as “different.” Turns out, it was a step-study meeting, packed with book thumpers! They weren’t the same women who’d brought the H&I meeting into my rehab, but they preached the same message.

I got involved almost immediately. I asked a woman to sponsor me. A few days later, we sat in Moe’s (great burritos, btw!) and worked the first three steps. It took a total of about fifteen minutes. Then she got me writing. The dreaded fourth step!

It turns out the big bad fourth step wasn’t so bad after all. Neither were steps eight and nine. None of the twelve-steps were scary or hard! Maybe I had that gift of desperation people talk about. I don’t know. I just know that I started to feel better and I was going to do whatever I could to keep that feeling going.

Being a Book Thumper Myself

Six years later, I sponsor women the same way. I’m a book thumper! I get girls into the steps quickly. They get better quickly. Of course, very little of their success or failure has anything to do with me. It all has to do with their level of willingness.

When I was first getting sober, my book thumper sponsor asked me, “are you willing to go to any length for your sobriety?” I had no idea what she was talking about, so of course I said yes. I thought she’d have me go to a lot of meetings or something like that.

Today, I know what she really meant. Going to any length means exactly what it sounds like. It means doing what my sponsor asked. If your sponsor is a book thumper, she’s going to ask you to get into the Big Book. Do it. Trust me, that simple book is the key to a whole new life!

The Top Five Signs Your Co-Worker is a Recovering Alcoholic

By: Tim Myers

How To Tell Your Co-Working is a Recovering Alcoholic

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Almost four years ago I stopped drinking. I have no idea why I did, I just did. I’d tried for many years to quit, but for some reason on December 6th 2010, I stopped.

Now, my problem wasn’t stopping. My problem was figuring out for the love of God how to stay stopped! I’d tried the girlfriend maintenance program. I’d tried the white-knuckle roller coaster. I’d tried the “non-alcoholic” beer club. Nothing worked, until everything worked.

For years and years, my co-workers suffered as my alcohol fueled body roared through their lives, making them work longer and harder, while I got drunker and drunker.

Today, I try to treat those I work with better than that. I try to be an asset instead of a liability. Recovering alcoholics who work a good program are the nicest and hardest working people in the office. You’d have no idea they used to sleep in the bathroom of a strip club.

So, if you’re thinking, “Man, I wonder why Jim from the mail room is such a great dude?” It could be because he’s a recovering alcoholic. Before asking Jim, look for these five signs.

5) They’re on the Phone A Lot Having Secret Conversations

 

It’s not a job interview or a mistress. Nope, they’re called sponsees.

After I had one year sober, I was always bouncing to the stairwell to answer a call. Sponsees call five times a day or never at all. They could be calling to tell you they drank, calling to discuss the Doctor’s Opinion, or just calling to tell you their calves hurt from the 5K they ran in. No matter what the reason, every call helps us stay sober.

So yeah, he may be on the phone a lot but, he’s getting pretty sober.

4) Everything Always Seems to Work Out for Them

 

You know that guy who always seems to be in the right place at the right time? That guy who always seems to get what he wants? Well, that guy may be a recovering alcoholic.

Here’s why – as alcoholics in recovery, we help other people stay sober. We live our lives honestly and justly, by helping others stay sober and by living a life of service. Through doing that, we’re making the world a better place. God likes that.

When you help others, good things happen to you. If you punch you sister in her stupid face, steal twenty dollars from your Mom, and then ask Dad to borrow the car, he’s going to say no, you’re an a*shole.

If you help your sister with her homework, kiss her stupid face, and help mom with the laundry, then Dad’s probably going to give you the keys, and few bucks for gas.

The same thing applies here. Help others and good things happen to you. So, if everything in your co-worker’s life seems to be star-spangled awesome, he might just be making the world a more sober place.

3) They Seem to Admit They Were Wrong

 

It’s called direct amends. It’s one of the things we do on a daily basis that keeps us from being a total a*shole. It’ll probably garner a lot of attention in the office, since most people like to stuff that humility and responsibility down their pants.

This isn’t a sign of weakness. They’re not being a push over. They’re just showing you what integrity looks like.

2) They Make Your Life Better

 

You know that person that just makes you feel better by being there? That person who always seems to have your back? They’re funny, kind, and give great advice. That’s how it feels to have a true and honest-to-goodness recovering alcoholic in your life, or at least that’s how the ones in my life make me feel.

1) They Never Drink Ever

 

Period.

The Top Five Signs Your Co-Worker is an Alcoholic

By: Tim Myers

Recognizing One of Your Own

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If you wanted to know if your classmate was gay, you’d ask the opinion of your gay friends. If you wanted to know if your cousin was a tiger, you wouldn’t ask a monkey. You’d ask another tiger. If you’re wondering if you’re hot enough to be a stripper, you wouldn’t ask your priest. You’d ask another stripper. So, if you’re wondering if your co-worker is an alcoholic, just ask another alcoholic.

Only a tiger knows what it’s like to look, walk, stalk, and smell like a tiger. Only a striper can let you know if you really have what it takes to be a stripper. If you’re trying to figure out if your classmate is gay (why do you even care?), you’ll only get an unbiased and non-judgmental opinion from one of your gay friends.

Now, assuming all the above is true, and lets just say it is – than I’m the perfect person to tell you the top five signs that your co-worker is an alcoholic. Guess why? Because, yep, I’m an alcoholic.

5) They’re Late to Work 90% of the Time

 

I can count on one finger how often I was on time for work when I was drinking. It almost never happened.

Ten alarms were set, but I never woke up. I put my work uniform on before I went to bed. It didn’t matter. I even slept in my car, in my work uniform, parked outside the front door of my work, and I still punched in late!

That lack of care for anything other than alcohol did it. Drinking and nursing a hangover were the only things I cared about. Since they weren’t selling alcohol in the footwear section, I didn’t give two s**ts about being on time.

4) They Always Look Like They Just Got Out of Bed

 

Alcoholics always looks like they’re just getting out of bed because they are always just getting out of bed! Or they’re getting off the sidewalk or out of jail.

Even when I didn’t have to be to work ‘till three in the afternoon, I still managed to sleep until 2:45. “This is great! I’ll sleep until 11, go for a jog, read a little, eat a healthy lunch, and go to work.” The alcoholic never does that. I’d always plan to, but at one in the morning that hooker on the corner, and that twenty-four hour Taco Bell, look like heaven on earth.

3) Their Car is Dented All Over

 

Normal people hit a pole, stop the car, and get it fixed soon after. Alcoholics hit a pole, back up, turn, hit the pole again, back up, go a block, hit another poles, smoke a cigarette and sleep until morning.

Do we get the car fixed? Nope! I’ve only got twelve dollars ‘till next Friday…that gallon of vodka costs five bucks and cigarettes cost six and my dog needs food.

2) They Call Out of Work and Claim Their Grandma Died

 

I feel like I need some sort of counseling or something, do you know how hard it is to give the eulogy at all fifteen of your grandmothers’ funerals? I mean, I know I should just be thankful that I’m the only kid in the history of the world who got to enjoy fifteen different grandmothers, but man! Saying goodbye to Dorothy, Sofia, Blanche, Rose, Anne, Roseanne, AnnRose, Martha 1 and 2, Dotty, Fran, Bella, Anna, Annabelle, and Dot is hard!

If your co-worker’s grandma dies and your co-worker doesn’t come in to work the next day – they’re an alcoholic and their Grandma is just fine.

1) They Always Smell Like Alcohol

 

That’s just what we smell like.