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Monday, May 30, 2011

Will-nots

Come across any of these lately?  I see some folks who are having a hard time staying sober on MOTR... so I think.  They seem to know where the good meetings are, but the more they relapse and drink, the more I see them coming back to the weak MOTR "let us love you till you kill yourself" meetings.

They know damn-well there are folks who would welcome them back, but they don't want to face the music?  They don't want to do steps?  They don't want to succeed?

I went to a MOTR meeting the other day and the most passionate share was a guy struggling with quitting tobacco chewing... Copenhagen no less.  This is not the worst topic I've heard from this group.  For example, just in this meeting, they made their 20 minute round of announcements, introductions, chips, birthdays, etc... then the chair person said, "Does anyone have a topic?"  Then under my breath... I said... like I always do... "CHAIR THE FUCKING MEETING, BITCH!"  So... the bleeding deacon of the meeting... a guy with 3 years in this case, says, "Well since we have a new person, let's make Step 1 the topic.  So that they did... until she called on people to share.... and three folks passed. 

I got called on.  I talked about insanity... as it applies to the person who is sober... the moment prior to drinking.  I talked about my experience with it and where I am now with sanity... and how the doing of the steps moved me away from insanity.

Well, after the meeting, I went to the guy struggling with the copenhagen and I told him I've been off of tobacco, specifically Copenhagen... for something like 4 years now.  He told me he did that, had quit for a year, and he would not/can not stop now.  He's basically a "will-not" with tobacco.  That's fine.

But why come to an A.A. meeting and fucking bitch about it?  It's like these guys who come dragging into A.A., but always find a reason to not finish their 4th steps or want to write another 4th step instead of finishing amends.  I don't get it.  Do you want to fail?  If so, why come to A.A.?

Friday, May 27, 2011

My Grandfather

Hi guys,
My Grandfather passed away last night. He was 92. He went peacefully, his wife of 62 years was by his side and the majority of his children. He was a remarkable man. Although he was a retired pastor he never preached to me. He demonstrated through action what a God centered life looks like. I am very grateful I got to know him and get close to him. He was a great man and will be missed by many.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Memorial Weekend

Just asking what everyone is doing.
I'll start Friday morning flying out and heading towards Florida, Englewood (Port Charlotte) live right off the mouth of the Myakka River and the Gulf.
I'll wake up Saturday morning 4:30am and head out into that Gulf searching for my meal that evening. Sea Bass and Grouper would be good. That night will be getting with family and friends at the family house for some good conversation and music. Our family was blessed with some very good musicians and singers.
Sunday the family will have a barbecue, hang out play horseshoes, bocce ball and lots of volley ball.
Monday we all head to the beach and make it a day lounging around again, jet skiing a bit.
I head back tuesday.
I don't know about you guys but I am so looking forward to this. Need the relaxation.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Hitting Bottom?

Hitting Bottom?


Where did this notion that alcoholics hit a bottom come from?



Did this come from 12 x 12 Bill W. bullshit? Is this in the 164? God, I hope not.



I've heard Mark Houston talk about , "Hit a bottom."



But I disagree with the notion. I don't think there is a bottom bad enough for the alcoholic. It's the fact that I drank again and thought that my drinking was quite alright, "Watch me now." despite past "bottoms" that is baffling.



When I'd wrecked my Nova, I'd sat there in a jail cell, feeling like pounded whale shit... a real fuck-up... I hated me and my life and I would have jumped off if I could have. If you came to me then and told me, "You will drink again and you will think nothing of it." , I think my head would have exploded if it could have. But that's what happened... again and again and again...

Saturday, May 21, 2011

It's 6:01, now what?

Nothing is happening.

No rapture.

No floaties, no crashed airplanes cars or trains.

Look here you 83 year old foo... go home now and shut the f up. If you're gonna whip out your bible and start thumping us with it, read the part that says you are nothing special. You don't know that which nobody else can know. You are a fraud and you got your day in the sun... some attention, now stfd and stfu. The day I hear the likes of Charles Stanley spouting these warnings is the day I'll start to sweat.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Should A.A. remain anonymous?

Rob B put me onto a topic here and I'd like to present it here in such a way that we see both sides... and maybe some interesting comments that this topic generates.

Please bear with my cutting and pasting;

Heard on NPR, "Taking the A out of A.A."

http://www.nhpr.org/sites/all/mediaplayer/audioplayer.html

An article from the New York Times that began “I’m David Colman and I’m an alcoholic” went viral last week and generated page upon page of discussion online and in print. In it, Colman openly discussed his 15 years of recovery and spoke to other sober people who think that it may be time to revise the anachronistic stigma of addiction and alcoholcs anonymous’s public relations policy that states “ we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio and films.”


Links:

■the new york times piece on a.a.

■responses to dave's piece

________________________________________
 
Then a seconde article here from the N.Y. Times titled "Challenging the second A in A.A.";
 
________________________________________
 
Then, finally an article from The Telegraph discussing why the idea would be a big mistake and why we should not violate the traditions set forth titled "Dropping the Anonymity Rule would be Disastrous for Alcoholics Anonymous";
 
In an interesting piece on the New York Times website, from Sunday’s paper, a recovering alcoholic named David Colman asks whether the anonymity requirement, which Alcoholics Anonymous imposes on its members, is outdated. He thinks it is old-fashioned because these days there’s no reason to be ashamed of addiction. I think dropping the anonymity rule would be a disaster. It’s an essential part of AA’s success, and the organisation tampers with this key principle at its peril. I think that shame drives addiction, but the antidote to shame is not necessarily incontinent openness – just as the remedy for constipation isn’t diarrhoea.



Why is AA anonymous? Well, here are some of the things AA says on the subject. The 12th tradition states that “anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our traditions”. AA expects its members to “place principles before personalities”. They are expected not to “break” their anonymity in public. And the rules specify they should respect “personal anonymity at the level of press radio and television”. AA’s public relations policy is based on “attraction rather than promotion”. Consider that when famous people trumpet their AA credentials, potential members are as likely to be put off having anything to do with AA, as they are to be encouraged.


The New York Times piece is worth reading. It has contributions from John Cheever’s daughter, Susan, who you’d expect to know more than most about alcoholism. She wrote a piece in The Fix, an addiction magazine, asking whether it was time to take the “A” out of AA. As with Colman, her view is that addiction is an illness, it no longer taints the sufferer with a social stigma, so it’s unhealthy to be secretive about it.


Is she right? Only up to a point, I think. You shouldn’t stigmatise alcoholics, of course not. But alcoholism does involve the operation of free will to an extent, and therefore it is never going to be morally neutral. It’s a disorder of the mind and the soul. But it’s not just the same as diabetes or cancer. And there are plenty of good reasons why ordinary people, as opposed to show-offs and celebrities, will want to remain discreet about an alcoholic history, even if it was years in the past. As Mary Elizabeth Williams puts it in Salon:


Not everyone has the freedom of an Eminem to write an album called “Recovery” and sport an AA triangle at the Grammys. Not everyone has the clout of Russell Brand, who has mirrored his famous bouts of excess and subsequent sobriety in Get Him to the Greek and Arthur. For others, there are profound social and career repercussions. If you’re a schoolteacher or a doctor, maybe you don’t want your colleagues and clients to know that a year ago, you were getting obliterated before work.


The extraordinary thing about AA is how little its members have meddled with it over the years – especially when you compare mainstream Christian denominations, which are forever churning out new and improved translations of their key texts.


The Big Book of AA, the founding text, remains virtually unchanged in its core chapters from when it was written in the 1930s. It retains the old-fashioned locutions of the American mid-west, the non-inclusive language, the talk of drinking “sprees” and the like. And few seriously want to update it. Why? Because it works, and AA members are sensibly reluctant to mess with it. Since anonymity was such an important founding principle, better leave it as it is, surely.

_______________________________________________________

You'll see my comments at the end of the last link.



 

Monday, May 16, 2011

More on Wet Houses





More on the wet house issue. It ties in with the discussion about rehabs centers, though, as the most vocal opponents of the concept are rehab directors.


St. Paul, Minnesota (CNN) -- Nick Lott's clothes hang neatly inside his closet. His room is tidy and his bed is sharply made. He says it's "a blessing" that he even has his own room to keep clean.

"This is all I've got, really," Nick says. "It's clean, comfortable, safe -- that's a big thing."

His immaculate living quarters contradict his life, which was upended by his addiction to alcohol. And that's what brought him to St. Anthony Residence in the first place.

On the cinder-block wall next to his TV stand, Nick keeps a tally of how many days it has been since his last drink. At this moment, four days are crossed off the calendar.

About 60 late-stage alcoholics live at St. Anthony Residence in St. Paul, which is partly funded by the state of Minnesota, and operated by Catholic Charities.

It's not a treatment center, although residents have access to counselors. They're even allowed to drink at St. Anthony -- the alcohol isn't provided, but the men are allowed to bring it to the residence.

The residents receive a monthly check of $89, and most of it goes to alcohol.

"We can use that cash on anything we want to do," resident Ray Spoor says, matter-of-factly. "And I don't only use it on alcohol, I use it on personal needs like toiletries ... but after that, I use it on booze."

Meet another St. Anthony resident

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http://www.cnn.com/video/living/2011/05/11/drew.wet.houses.hln.576x324.jpg

http://www.cnn.com/video/living/2011/05/11/drew.wet.houses.hln.576x324.jpgWet house: Dignified spot for alcoholics?

St. Anthony -- often called a wet house -- operates under the principle that it's safer and cheaper to have these guys drinking in a controlled environment than out on the cold Minnesota streets.

"These are all men that have been through treatment, numerous attempts," says St. Anthony Residence program director Bill Hockenberger.

"These are men that lost their jobs, relationships, homes due to alcohol -- all family ties pretty much have really reached rock bottom."

The men are either recommended by the county after numerous visits to detox centers, or they can apply to live there.

Dr. Drew: Pointed questions on 'wet houses'

Hockenberger says St. Anthony follows a harm-reduction model: It provides shelter, meals and medical attention for late-stage alcoholics, defined as those who have suffered a host of physical and psychological problems because of their drinking.

"The staff treat you with respect," Lott says. "I'd be in a bad, bad position without a place like this. ... I would be running around panhandling and annoying people and maybe even stealing."

'Harm reduction' or 'giving up'?

There are at least five "wet houses" for chronic alcoholics in Minnesota. Catholic Charities operates two in the Twin Cities -- St. Anthony in St. Paul and the Glenwood in Minneapolis -- with the help of state funding. And there's a similar residence, called Anishinabe Wakiagun, run by the Native American community in Minneapolis.

Seattle opened 1811 Eastlake, a state-subsidized residence for late-stage alcoholics, in 2005. And other cities, including Anchorage, Alaska; Memphis, Tennessee, and Philadelphia are considering building similar housing.

These are all men that have been through treatment, numerous attempts.
--Bill Hockenberger, St. Anthony Residence program director

There was a lot of opposition in Seattle when the residence was first proposed in 1999. A legal challenge led by a prominent businessman delayed the opening of 1811 Eastlake for six years.

"A lot of the rhetoric that their attorney used was that it would be a party house, a free-for-all," said Nicole Macri, administrative director for Seattle's Downtown Emergency Center, which oversees the residence. "It really has more of a feel of a convalescent home than a party house."

A University of Washington-led research team studied a group of 95 chronically homeless alcoholics and found that in one year, they cost taxpayers more than $8 million in hospitalizations, detox center treatments and incarcerations.

When the same group spent one year in Seattle's Housing First program -- residences where they are allowed to drink -- the same group cost $4 million in taxpayer money, according to the study, which was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

There are other Housing First programs across the United States that emphasize providing shelter first, then treating addictions later.

So far, in Memphis, there hasn't been a lot of opposition to building a residence where alcoholics can drink, city administrator Kimberly Mitchell said.

The potential savings of taxpayer money is at the heart of the argument for a wet house-style residence that is part of Mayor A C Wharton's 10-year action plan to end homelessness, Mitchell said.

"What we're trying to tell them is that it's going to affect everybody -- representatives from 911, from the medical side, as well as the criminal side," she said.

"If you have police pick them up, then that's taxpayer dollars."

Manager: Housing chronic alcoholics makes moral, budget sense

St. Anthony Residence in St. Paul advertises itself as a "cost-effective and compassionate housing option" that "costs less than $50 a night," compared with a night at a detox facility, which costs more than $200.

But the idea of giving chronic alcoholics access to their drug of choice on the taxpayers' dime is unacceptable to most addiction counselors.

It's basically giving up on a treatable disease, according to William C. Moyers, a director at Hazelden addiction treatment centers in the St. Paul-Minneapolis area.

I see the wet house model as a model that enables the addict in the alcoholic to continue those destructive patterns.
--William C. Moyers, addiction treatment center director

"We feel that that it's never too late, and that even if the alcoholic doesn't want help, doesn't mean that their drinking should be condoned or in any other way enabled or facilitated," says Moyers, author of "Broken: My Story of Addiction and Redemption."

"I see the wet house model as a model that enables the addict in the alcoholic to continue those destructive patterns."

Dr. Drew Pinsky, an addiction specialist and host of HLN's "Dr. Drew" show, says that the idea of a residence allowing alcoholics to drink raises some concerns.

"It seems to me that these organizations sometimes use terminology that suggests this is a harm-avoidance option. But this, too, is treatment, not hospice," Pinsky said.

"If wet houses provide safety, comfort and some measure of respect for those with a serious illness, they may be the best choice for some."

Nick's story

After vodka ruined his career as a kitchen manager, Nick Lott found himself sleeping under a bridge -- or "sleeping under the stars," as he puts it.

"[I'd] get so drunk, it didn't matter," he says.

Then, five years ago, he made his way to the Glenwood, before moving to St. Anthony.

ick Lott heads to the liquor store where he spends most of his monthly allotment of $89.  "I know that must sound horrible to the taxpayers, but that's what it is," he says.

Nick Lott heads to the liquor store where he spends most of his monthly allotment of $89. "I know that must sound horrible to the taxpayers, but that's what it is," he says.

"My sister kind of pooh-poohed it, [she] thought, you know, 'Why would you move into a place like that when you know you have the problems that you have?' " Nick says. "But I think after awhile, they came to realize this was a pretty good thing.

"They would rather see me in a place like this than on the streets."

Nick had been in and out of detox centers "at least 100" times, sometimes just staying there for a shower and a place to sleep.

He doesn't like to talk about his past, but he readily takes responsibility for his situation.

"I regret a lot of decisions that I made. I really have nobody to blame for any of my misfortunes," he says. "It's because I drank and the way I drink ... If I didn't drink, I think, things could have been very different."

On April 1, the first Friday of the month, Nick gets his $89 check and cashes it. After a couple of purchases at Walmart, he spends the rest at a liquor store.

"A majority (of the $89) goes to drinking, and I know that must sound horrible to the taxpayers, but that's what it is," he says. "Maybe that's all there is left for me," he ponders, his voice trailing.

"And it only makes you feel good for maybe a day or two, and then the money runs out or, you know, the physical and then mental things start going on ... and it just makes things worse.

"But the few moments that it does make you feel good almost seem worth it."

His routine, like that of most chronic alcoholics, revolves around his next drink. And that, he says, makes it impossible to stay connected to his siblings who live in Nebraska and Minnesota.

"I don't see them very much. To be quite honest, I kind of avoid them," he says. "It's like, what do you talk about? 'Well what are you up to now, Nick?' 'Well, I live in a wet house, and I don't work. Nothing's going on with me.'"

RELATED TOPICS

Nick says he still has a sliver of hope that he can turn his life around, when asked if he expects to spend the rest of his life at St. Anthony:

"Well, that just depends on how much time I have left," he says. "You know, people die here all the time. ... (There's) a possibility of not spending the rest of my time here, of maybe pulling myself up and making lifestyle changes."

Less than a month after that interview, Nick Lott died at the age of 52 -- a shock to those who knew him. St. Anthony officials did not have any details about his death, and his family could not be reached for comment.

His words captured the struggle that chronic alcoholics face every day:

"It gets to where you almost feel afraid to quit drinking because it's like sometimes, it just seems like that's all there is."

CNN's Tricia Escobedo reported from Atlanta and Chris Welch reported from St. Paul.

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Friday, May 13, 2011

Rehabs... treatment centers... asylums... vs 2 or 3 day detox in a hospital ward























I've got no problem with the things rehab/treatment centers do.  They can and will do whatever they want.  But just keep that stuff out of A.A.

I've been sent to detox a time or two... and was one way or another persuaded by the adjacent treatment center... or my family... or my place of employment... to chill out for 5 or 14 days.

On the surface, it sounds like a reasonable idea.  For some, it may even be helpful.  But for me, it was a waste of time and money.  What I would have made good use of would just be the 24-72 hour drying out period, then just sent home to decide where I was going to go for long term help.  But to spend the next few or couple of weeks going over proper nutrition, thought therapy, addiction education, feeling management, etc... not such a useful approach for me.

I, like Jim in the A.A. book, had made a good beginning;  I knew what would happen if I drank again, I knew that there would be consequences detrimental to my well-being and perhaps the safety of others... yet I drank again.

Danny S, the Real Live Recovered Alcoholic is at a point in his book study now which really hits home for me and jives with my experience;  the fact that we recovered alcoholics are called on to judge... that's right, JUDGE... other alcoholics.  We're supposed to find out all we can about them, to sit them down when they "go back out again", and find out specifically what they were thinking the moment before they drank.  They did this with Jim and found out he thought he could put whiskey in his milk.  They put their finger on... for him... a direct piece of insanity that preceeded his next bender.

Now... the book goes on to say, "We don't like to label others as alcoholic... let them find that out for themselves"... or something to that effect... but we still judge.  Why?  Because we know what it's about.  We should not be at all surprised when the alcoholic drinks again. 

So what do we do from there?  Send them to rehab again?  Oh, the Alcoholism Industry would love that idea.  It's my opinion that it's up to us to get them at a time when they are receptive for a talk... to try and "hook" them... to give them a glimpse of what happened to us and what we did to get to a point of desparation... and utimately to surrender and to a decision.

For some weird reason, I came back in of my own accord... without much hope... if any, I was debriefed once again about the possibility that I was "beyond human aid"... but then somehow given hope when I heard the statement, "It's up to you, bud.  Either you're gonna do this stuff or you're not."

So, for me, I was given hope when I was told that I basically have to take responsibility for my own recovery.  That's Step Three, and most of our detractors, if not all of them, to a man... do not understand or deny the paradox that making a decision to seek God is also a decision to take responsibility.  If you don't understand this, maybe you aren't an alcoholic... or, maybe you are an alcoholic that truly needs to find a non-spiritual approach to recovery.  For you, maybe you can turn away from this form of recovery and "go take responsibility for your own life" and just don't drink and just don't go to meetings.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

IT'S QUIET. WAY TOO QUIET


And nobody else does either.....

Monday, May 2, 2011

I passed my work certification... what's next?

Hey, thanks for stopping by. It's been slow in here. I get lonely.