Renewed Beginnings

This edition of Recovery River is number 49. It is hard to believe that I have written that many entries since July 13th. I have covered a good number of recovery topics and, as much as possible, based my comments on the steps and my personal experience. I have no idea where this blog is taking me in the future, but the past six months have been a time of discovery and journey in my life.

When I started this writing journey I had just ended a relationship that I had believed would last forever. I found out that my Higher Power had other plans. I don’t regret that relationship nor that it is now over. I can see now, with hindsight, that I learned a great deal about what it really means to be a partner to someone and how a relationship can grow and grow differently for both people involved. Through the aftermath of that change, I discovered how much I learned from my program and how much I could apply what I had learned about living life on life’s terms to my own life and about how important my friends in the program are to me. The greatest awareness that came out of it all is that I can and will survive everything that happens to me in life, until I don’t. Meanwhile, my Higher Power has been and continues to be by my side through it all.

Writing this blog has forced me to look at my own recovery program with a critical eye. I have had to ask myself some difficult questions of how I apply the twelve steps and twelve traditions to my own life. I firmly believe that my program of recovery today, while it is built on the foundation of yesterday, must be constructed anew each morning that I wake up; yesterday’s sobriety doesn’t keep me sober today. I have to apply myself each and every day.

These words I put out twice a week have forced me to commit to myself, my Higher Power and my personal recovery program. There were times when I really wanted to do other things besides sit down and write. But I made a commitment, a promise to myself and to those who follow the blog to provide insightful and timely thoughts on recovery, whatever program you follow. I believe that we can all use a twelve step program of some type.

I have committed to another block of time to this blog because my recovery is based upon the work I do on it today. I can see from the growth in my own program that this writing is good for me. So, in this the last blog of 2017, I ask you, my readers, where do you see this blog going? Do you have suggestions, possible changes, ideas, topics or themes that you would like me to cover in the next six months? Those reader who are not in a recovery program are also asked to respond. Any ideas on best publishing times, days of the week? I’m learning as I go along here and I’ve learned that I can’t do it alone either.

I look forward to your comments and suggestions. Happy Old Year Folks!


My Greatest Gift

Our recovery program is an enigma: I can’t keep it unless I give it away and the moment I say I have it, I don’t. It reminds me of something we did  in school as a kid.  We took cornstarch and mixed it with water. As long as it was in motion we could roll it around and make a ball in our hands, like a silly putty. But the moment we stopped moving it, it became a liquid and oozed through our fingers. This interesting mixture only has solidity when you ‘work’ it. My program needs movement; this is a program of action. The moment I stop the action, the program oozes through my fingers and I’ve lost it.

Step twelve tells us that we need to carry the message of recovery to others. Carrying the message is what keeps the memory of my own recovery fresh. Talking with another addict or alcoholic helps me to remember that I am just a couple of bad decisions away from taking a drink or a hit. It takes the steps and the slogans and forces me to apply them in different ways and in different situations. And it keeps my mind and my heart open to gratitude for what I was freely given.

Working with someone is the greatest gift I can give them: I am offering them the gift of a new life and a way out of the darkness they are living in. I am offering an example from my own life that change really is possible and that if I, another addict could do it, then there is the possibility that another person could do it too. And it is the greatest gift I can give myself because I am constantly renewing my own life and deepening my understand of the many facets of the diamond that is sobriety. Regardless of the outcome, I strengthen my own recovery.

Early on in my recovery I wanted to tell the world about the program. But we don’t do it that way. It’s attraction, not promotion that we work at. Let the active addict or alcoholic see how I have changed; be an example of how my life has changed. I don’t have to preach on the streets, this is a program of anonymity. But as someone once told me, “Don’t be so anonymous that no one can find you.”

Be open to talking a bit about the program at the parties and gatherings you attend this season. Trust that your higher power will bring you opportunities to shine your light in someone else’s darkness. Be the designated driver. Show your happiness, joy and freedom and others will be attracted to you and what you have. Share what others freely gave you and you will receive the gift of continued recovery.

I am grateful.

Merry Christmas.


By the time we get to Step Twelve in the program of recovery, a lot will have changed in our lives. A lot changed in my life. I recently was reflecting on my life before and after that Gift Of Desperation that I had several years back. I thought my life was manageable. I thought I had things under control. I didn’t think anyone really knew how much I was using and that I was covering things up pretty well. Yeah…right…

Looking back on my life I can see now that somewhere along the line, my addiction became my “go-to” for dealing with things in life. If things went well, I celebrated. If things went wrong, I commiserated. All is good in the world? Time for a drink. There’s a threat of war? Time for a drink. The only way I dealt with anything was by either floating on the red sea of wine or jumping off to drown my sorrows. I had no other way of dealing with life any more. If I had used any other ways of dealing with life, they had been discarded somewhere along the way. And of course, I was only pretending that I was dealing with life. In reality, the world began ignoring me and moving on without my not so imperious presence.

Upon coming into recovery, I found that life was very difficult to deal with life. I no longer had my crutch. I had to learn or relearn what I was supposed to do. I listened at meetings. I read our literature. I talked to my sponsor and to other recovering members. Gradually I learned how to do simple things like say ‘No, thank you,’ and ‘I think I’m going home. Thanks for a nice evening.’ As time went on I learned that I can stand tall against tragedies as well as triumphs without falling back on my old stand-by. My thinking changed. I was no longer doing the same things that I used to do. I was facing life and managing.

This, for me, is the spiritual awakening that is talked about in Step Twelve. A change in my spirit, my response to life. It’s a change in mindset: a new approach to life. And it’s just an awakening: it doesn’t mean I’ve got it all figured out. I see a spiritual awakening in the same was as I look at waking up in the morning. When I first start to become conscious in the morning I slowly open my eyes, come to realize where I am. I get up, put the coffee on and maybe after that first coffee, I can say that I am awake. In the same way, I see a spiritual awakening as that first opening of the eyes in the morning. It will take a while before I am fully awake spiritually.  A few more cups of ‘spiritual’ coffee, if you will, before I am spiritually conscious. More will be revealed.

I am grateful.