Showing posts from June, 2021

Accepting I'm An Alcoholic

How Accepting My Affliction Allowed Me To Ascend Along With Other Advice For Addressing Addiction It took many years for me to acknowledge, out loud and with gusto, that I am an alcoholic. I had known it in the back of my mind since I was around 23, but I didn't say it and mean it until I was 29. If I were to put my recovery on a timeline, that moment would be my beginning. The evening I leveled with myself and admitted I had a serious problem. It was emotionally intense, as though I'd been holding my breath for years and finally gasped for air. Even at the time, I knew it was a turning point. I had never before identified as an alcoholic, and it was a surreal assessment to process. I didn't want to be an alcoholic, I didn't want the stigma and shame, but it was mine, nonetheless. I had to come to terms with the fact that an alcoholic is not always busted, bruised, and without a home. Actually, quite the opposite. I feel like there are more of us living with fine jobs

The Importance Of Establishing Boundaries

How To Establish Boundaries With Friends & Family In Early Sobriety This will be the first year in a very, very long time that I celebrate the 4th of July sober. However, this is not my first holiday of sobriety, and I felt it might be pertinent for me to share the boundaries I had to create with myself, my family, and my friends in early recovery. And I promise it's not nearly as dramatic as that sentence sounds. It's more about learning my comfort level within certain situations, and the best way to respond when I'm feeling uncomfortable. I experienced quite a bit of trial and error while establishing these boundaries, and I hope to spare you from some of the mistakes I made along the way. Holidays, in particular, can become tricky when applying and enforcing these boundaries. They're moments when you want to spend time with your family and friends, enjoying their company. You want to hang out and chat and finally be present, but with that usually comes a bit of b

The Power Of Nature

How Mother Nature Kicked That Vodka Bottle's Ass Alright, so go with me here, y'all. I'm about to go a lil' hippie on ya, but I think you'll like it. As some of you know, I was raised in the country, down a gravel road, which was just a hop, skip, and jump from a lake. My hometown was a few miles away, so I spent most of my time while growing up playing in pastures, the lake, or the woods. As time went on, and I was able to drive a four-wheeler, back gravel roads became my highway to freedom. I could drive hours on a tank of gas, swimming, climbing, and exploring. I wasn't always alone, but sometimes I was.  I never felt alone, though, even when I was. I felt safe, as though I was with friends, hanging in the woods. The sound of the wind in the trees, the snapping of a limb, or the chatter of squirrels and birds, they were my friends. The tiny creek that only flowed after it rained was my friend. The meadow behind a gravel road no one drove anymore was my frien

Finding Freedom By Releasing Shame & Guilt

Embracing Self-Love & Positive Energy A while back, I posted about shame and the damaging effects it inflicted on my psyche. Now that I have a more appropriate venue, however, I'd like to dive in a bit deeper. Have you made some ugly, poor decisions whilst in active addiction? Did you say, do, or send something you didn't mean, and now regret spills over you daily, like an ice-cold shower? No? 'Cause that's how I lived for what felt like decades. Constantly full of regret, embarrassment, shame, and guilt. For my belligerent, defiant, deviant, manipulative, and drunken behavior.  Believe me, you haven't done or said anything any worse than the stunts I've pulled. We're human, we were (and maybe some of us still are) under the influence of a severe mind-altering substance, and acted recklessly and impulsively. Am I super proud of my antics? No, not at all. But will I continue to rack myself with shame? No. I shan't. It's extremely counterproductive

The Do's & Don'ts Of Sober Living

A Checklist To Find A Reputable Sober Living Environment As I mentioned in my last post, I would like to dedicate an entire post to sharing the benefits of sober living environments. So, here we go. I first entered sober living way back in 2013, when I was living in Oregon and attempting to kick the sauce. It was, to say the least, a rocky experience because I wasn't ready to be sober. I  had not decided to change my life, which, I believe, is the definitive factor in becoming sober or clean. It must come from within, for external forces will never pierce addiction's armor. This I know, my friends. This I do know. Since I was not able to put the bottle down, I only lasted about two weeks at my first sober house. However, once I willingly admitted myself to a sober house, I was able to see amazing results. I mean, for real, y'all. I have seen sober living environments save marriages, relationships with children, relationships with friends and family, careers, all the majors

Guidance For Questions Regarding AA, Detox, Rehab, & Sober Living

A Brief Summary of Types of Recovery Support Programs, Detox, Rehab & Sober Living I'm blown away and truly humbled at the response my blog has generated! Thank you so much , y'all! Over the course of several posts, I've received a few questions and figured it would be important to address some of these concerns publicly. I believe this information will be helpful to anyone struggling with understanding the different types of support out there or how to go about entering a detox or treatment (rehab) facility. Imma touch on sober living, too. There is a smorgasbord of recovery support groups out there, but I can only speak from my experience, so I will be covering Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), Narcotics Anonymous (NA), Cocaine Anonymous (CA), Self-Management and Recovery Training (SMART Recovery), and Celebrate Recovery (CR). You know, just a couple. The Anyonymous's are friggin' life-changing programs, y'all! The sense of community and support is overwhelming,

Coping Through The Blah, Ugly Days Without A Drink

How To Avoid "White-Knuckling It" When Trying To Stay Sober Since becoming sober, I have found my old zest for life, while stumbling upon a renewed appreciation for its wonder. After spending so many years alone, shut off from the world, and pickling in a vodka bottle, I had forgotten its allure. I had forgotten how awe-inspiring an ordinary day can be, once the haze of a bottle was removed from my routine.  Now, that being said, some days are easier than others. It's very difficult to constantly maintain a positive outlook on life, can we just be honest? It's helpful, oh yes, but I have yet to reach the level where I can operate daily without fear, anxiety, or worry. I would like to share about the rough days, the ones where I feel blah and uninspired, the ones where I stave off the bottle. You know, the ugly ones that never make it to the ol' FB. They're much more common for me than it may seem, and I suspect it's because I'm newly sober and nearing

Grieving The Loss Of Alcohol & Drugs

My Morning Vodka vs. Mourning My Vodka As I am an alcoholic, I use language specific to drinking. Please know that I am not trying to be exclusive, rather I write in an effort to maintain authenticity, so I choose to use wording around alcohol or liquor. It is my hope that you can interchange this wording with your substance of choice, knowing that, regardless of the substance, we each tread its devastating path of destruction together. Now we may walk in the light of recovery together. I hope that wasn't too lofty, my friends. Are you drinking in the mornings? And not because you partied until the wee hours. Are you waking up, still buzzed, or with the beginnings of a hangover, and downing some booze? To me, that was a sign indicating I'd reached a new level of alcoholism. Woot, woot, I've defeated the boss and made it to the champion's level! It's not all fun and games, though, is it? It's a deflating and scary moment when you find yourself pouring shots at 6:

Your Friends Still Love You

BFF's Have Healing Powers, Yo! I turned 35 yesterday and celebrated, hands down, the most rewarding birthday of my adult life. Even as I write this post I am still glowing and dizzy from a profound sense of nostalgia and joy. I awoke this morning so thankful for true friendships and the power they wield. Please understand, until very recently, I thought I'd lost this is my life, that I'd squandered it for a few drops of the sauce. You see, I was very lucky in college to meet a core group of friends who have stuck by my side through thick and thin. They are my Drury crew, and I would not be the person I am today were it not for them. Four guys, one girl, and a million memories. During the reign of my alcoholism, however, I closed myself off from the world, including my Drury crew, despite their best efforts to stay present in my life. But this is what we do, right? We shut out those who love us most, because their message rings the loudest and we don't want to hear it. I

Pride & Gratitude & Hope, Oh My!

Trust = Hope This morning, while watching the sunrise and telling myself happy birthday, I was overcome with a profound sense of gratitude and hope. It made me feel warm and safe and I smiled brightly to myself. You see, only very recently, within the last couple of months, really, have I been able to feel this way about life. And it dawned on me, as the literal dawn was breaking, that I haven't taken time to acknowledge my emotional progress. I've been so taking the next step, I haven't stopped to congratulate myself. And it is extremely important that we show ourselves great support and respect, for I spent far too many years doing the opposite and paid dearly. It's not that I was constantly operating in a state of negative emotion, but more that I rarely engaged in hope. I was frightened of letting myself down, yet again, so I refrained from being too hopeful. Because of this, I severely limited my capability for gratitude. A friggin mess, right? Right. I was in an e

How I Found "My Happy Place" Through Meditation

Meditation: How A Country Boy From The Sticks Found Peace  I first discovered the joy of meditation in July of 2017, however I'd been mystified by it for years. It always seemed beyond my reach, though, something so exotic and ethereal that I shan't dare try, for fear of making a fool of myself. I felt too plain to practice it, too country and simple, and so I quietly observed from the sideline. Meditation was a gift reserved for enlightened vegetarians who had no carbon footprint and rallied for the bees. It was not for a podunk boy from the sticks who thought nirvana was a band. Poor boy, if only I knew then what I know now. But I guess that's not the point, huh? Naturally, as is the story of my life, I was in rehab when I decided to fully commit and try meditation. I refused to psych myself out or set my expectations too high. I entered my first group with an open mind, eager to learn and explore. It was a guided meditation led by an elderly hippie named Bernard. To be h

Did You Relapse Again? Oh, Fiddlesticks

Relapsing Is Not The End of The World! Let me tell you something: when I say that I am the King of Relapses, I am not exaggerating. And using the word king does not imply I wear the moniker with pride. I use it as a means to emphasize the fact that I could not go two or three days without a drink, after solemnly swearing it off, for roughly 7 years. It was friggin insane, dude! I would take this dramatic vow every few days, the oath of my life, and then break it in an instant. And not give a you know what about it. At all, man. It took me years, with multiple tools of therapy from several of those wonderfully amazing professionals I've mentioned before, to steer me out of this behavior. That's not what I'd like to address in this post, however. The motivation and desire that kept me running back to the bottle is another matter entirely. What I want to address with this post is the icky, tortured, pungent feeling of relapse after relapse.  Listen, I understand that relapse i

CBT, Or Keeping Calm When I Really Wanna Burn It All Down

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: It Basically Saved My Life One of the most important forms of therapy I learned while exploring the United States via rehabs and psych wards was CBT.  Which means cognitive behavioral therapy, in case you haven't had the means, chance, or courage to explore therapy. I realize not everyone has had the same privileges as myself, and I would like to share with you what I've learned regarding this technique. Please understand, though, that I am in no way, nor claim to be: a therapist, addiction counselor, certified peer specialist, addiction coach, rehab tech--I shan't be anything of the sort, you see! I'm simply a soon-to-be mid-3o's recovering alcoholic who's had the chance to sit across from some very enlightened, very brilliant doctors, psychiatrists, therapists, and counselors. I'd like to offer my conception of CBT and how I've implemented it into not only my daily reprieve from alcohol but, well, life in general. It just

Hello, My Alcoholics & Addicts! You're Safe Here!

An Introduction Of A Gay, Newly Sober Alcoholic Welcome, my fellow drunks and addicts! Whether ye be sober or tweakin', I'm glad you've found your way to my blog! You see, I have no idea how to do a proper blog, so I'mma wing it. I do hope to provide some humor, inspiration, and perspective, though. But first things first. My name is Charlie and I am an alcoholic. I have been sober from alcohol since July 8, 2020. I will turn 35 in 5 days and I am just now realizing how amazingly captivating life is without the aid of a vodka bottle. I didn't know this because I've spent a little over a decade sailing the boozy sea of addiction, docking briefly at rehabs, detoxes, and psychiatric wards. I have quite literally flung myself from coast to coast in a gay, drunken tizzy, searching for a cure to my insanity.  You name a therapy, I've tried it. A pill to help with alcoholism? I've eaten them all. An administered shot, by a nurse, to dull the effects of alcohol