Good Intentions

So today has been a good day.  Got up.  Read my daily devotions.  Went to work.  Had a good day at work.  After work, I went to an accountability group I’m a part of in my church (a group of men who meet weekly and have dinner, talk and ask each other questions about our week in an effort to keep us accountable to one another).  After that I attended another meeting at my church for a group that organizes the service projects for the church.  Then I went to the gym and did my daily workout.  Now I’m relaxing and writing this.  All in all I’d say I had a pretty darn good day!!

Now I won’t give you a rundown of my day with each post I write.  I had a purpose in doing so today.  I want to talk a little bit about something that is key to my recovery at this point in the game.  That is the idea of being intentional and taking action.  This is not my first go around with recovery.  I have had several attempts and obviously several failures.  So what is different this time?  In previous attempts I would go to meetings like a good alcoholic should.  I would read the literature.  I even had a sponsor.  I wouldn’t drink and do all these things, yet at some point life would bear down on me and all the meetings, literature and friends I may have had couldn’t keep me sober.  I wanted to drink, so I drank, despite the fact that I didn’t want to.  Why?  I hadn’t taken action in my recovery.  I hadn’t taken the suggestions given to me.  You can read about going to the gym.  Look up all the best workouts and line them out.  You can plan the best diet program to supplement your workouts.  Sign up for a gym that is convenient for you to use.  Buy the best workout attire.  But all this won’t do any good unless you take the action necessary and actually GO TO THE GYM!!  The same goes in recovery.  You can go to as many meetings as you can, talk to as many people as you can, read all the literature, repeat all the mantras and slogans, but if you don’t put the program into action in your life, you’re probably going to drink again.  Such was the case with me.  I just didn’t have the tools necessary to effectively live my life without alcohol, because I hadn’t taken any action in my program.

That is why taking action is important.  Today, I work the steps of the program.  You hear alot about the steps in the program, but until you actually start working them, they just won’t make sense.  The steps are to help us change our way of thinking.  I have a problem and that problem is me.  Alcohol is merely a symptom of a much deeper problem.  As I said before, I am selfish and self-centered by nature.  If you take away the alcohol, but don’t change the way you act and behave, it’s just a matter of time before you wind up right back where you started.  These days when I feel restless, irritable or discontent, I try to figure out why I’m feeling that way.  I used to feel that way all the time and didn’t think anything of it.  I figured everyone felt that way.  Now I try to get to the root of the problem.  Is it that I’m not being accepting?  Am I not being loving and tolerant?  Do I have a resentment that needs resolved?  These are the things that are still there even when the alcohol is gone.  My sponsor always points out to me that each time I drank again after a period of sobriety, I made that decision totally sober.  So what drove me to the point that I made the most insane decision possible without even an ounce of alcohol in my body?  I hadn’t taken any action in my recovery.  When I feel out of sorts and can’t figure out just what’s wrong, I take action and tell someone else what I’m feeling.  Sometimes it takes someone else to point out why you might be feeling a certain way.  Whatever the case may be, I try to take action to figure out what is going on in my mind, before I get to the point that I’m drunk again, with no idea how it happened.

The point I was making at the beginning of this post with listing what I did today was this.  At this point in my recovery I am being intentional with my life and my decisions.  I am taking the action necessary to keep myself sober for today.  I was certainly intentional with my drinking.  I would walk 4 miles to the liquor store in the rain-shaking, sweating, and panting just to get a bottle of Vodka to relieve the pain of withdrawal (yes, that did actually happen).  So why would I not put the same effort into my recovery, so that I can enjoy a happy, healthy and joyful life?  I decided I wanted more out of life than I was getting before, so I take great care to be intentional and spend my time doing those things that help me grow as a person, grow spiritually and on those things that I enjoy (this one is just as important as the others…you gotta have fun too!!!)

So my question to anyone who might be reading this is this:  Are you being intentional with your life and taking action to get the most out of everyday?

Now time to rock out to some Van Halen (David Lee Roth era Van Halen of course)!!!  Goodnight everyone!!!


John Barleycorn Must Die

So I decided to try my hand at blogging.  Not that I have anything earth shattering or life changing to say, rather as a way to get out what I’m feeling inside.  To write my thoughts and feelings out seems to take away some of the power they have over me when when I leave them inside and try to deal with things on my own.

So who am I?

My name is Judd and I’m an alcoholic.  I add that last part in, because it’s a big part of who I am, who I was, and who I am becoming.  I have been clean and sober now for a little over 6 months.  Let me enlighten you as to where I was about 7 months ago…

I had a home that I was living in, at least until I got evicted.  I was drinking daily.  First thing in the morning, all day until I went to bed.  I was physically broken.  My health was in such poor condition that hospital stays were becoming the norm.  I had violent delirium tremons, which included the sweats, shaking, and hallucinating.  Three weeks before I lost my home, I had attempted suicide.  This was a colossal failure and only landed me in the ICU for a while.  I saw suicide as the only way out of the madness that had become my life.  My finances were in ruins.  My job was becoming questionable.  My family didn’t understand what I was doing to myself.  So there I was…a drunk with nowhere to go.

I decided to check myself into a local treatment center.  I was admitted and placed in the detox unit, but soon after had to be taken to the hospital, as my detox would have to be medically supervised due to its severity.  While at the hospital, the doctors and nurses couldn’t understand why someone would do this to themselves.  Why you ask?  Because I’m an alcoholic and that’s what alcoholics do.  After I was deemed safe enough to go back to treatment, they released back to the treatment center.  I wanted to stay for inpatient treatment, but the center didn’t accept my insurance.  Say what????  So once I was done with detox, I was released.  Now what?  My family wouldn’t let me stay with them.  I tried friends, but had burned most of those bridges.  So I did what someone with no home does….I went to the rescue mission.  There I was in the place I had once volunteered at.  I was homeless.  I checked myself in and reported to my dorm.  I was rooming with about 12 other men.  This would end up being my home for the next month.  Every day I would wake up, go to work, and come home to the mission at night.  Only my supervisor at work knew that I was living at the mission during that time.  While at the mission, they had a daily chapel service.  I went to church on Sundays regularly, but thought the daily chapel service at the mission could only help me, so I attended every chance I could.  As I did, I found my attitude began to change.  Though I was in one of the worst possible situations I had ever been in, I could see that it may be just what I needed.  I firmly believe that I had to go through what I did in order for my testimony to be what it is today.  With each passing day, my resolve would only strengthen.  I was attending regular Alcoholics Anonymous meetings.  I was getting back some of the trust I had lost from my friends and family.  My faith in God was being restored.  I spent a lot of time in quiet meditation and prayer.  Everyday I went to work and did my job like nothing had changed, but every night I would return to the mission for another night.

After I had 30 days of sobriety under my belt, I applied to live in an Oxford House.  An Oxford House is a sober living house in which the residents run the house on their own, with the goal of supporting one another in maintaining a life of sobriety.  I interviewed at a house and was accepted.  That same house is where I live today.

What is on my mind tonight is this:  God has a plan for each one of us.  We don’t always know, nor are we supposed to know, what that plan is.  I know that I didn’t go through hell, only to run right back to what sent there in the first place.  God is a loving father, but even loving fathers have to discipline their children.  I was not living the way God intended me to live and there were consequences for that.  I own that.  My mistakes were MINE.  I can blame no one but myself for what I had to go through.  It wasn’t bad genes, a bad life, bad luck, it wasn’t my parents’ fault….it was MY FAULT.  While it was my own fault for what happened to me, it was also my own decision as to whether or not I wanted to change the direction of my life.  I decided to take some action.  I decided to become a more intentional person in how I lived my life.  I decided to live a life abundant with love, tolerance and patience.  I work at it everyday and somedays it is hard as hell, but its about progress, not perfection.  I try to live my life according what I believe God’s will for me is, rather than my own will.  My life is intolerable and unmanageable when I attempt to run it on self-will.  I am self-centered and selfish at my core, however I know and recognize this and work to keep this in check on a daily basis.  Self-centeredness and selfishness are the root of almost every problem I have on a daily basis.  Therefore I try to keep this spiritual malady at bay, by maintaining a God centered life.  Living a life connected to God is what keeps me focused.  Where no human power could heal me, God has healed me.

As this is my first post, I don’t know how coherent anything I wrote was, so I apologize.  In the future I will mainly focus on what may be on my mind that day, so hopefully it will be more focused and coherent.  I just felt I needed to give a little history on who and what I am and what my intentions are with this blog.  God has done some amazing things in my life over the past 6 months and I want to share what he has and continues to do in my life, as well as those random thoughts and situations that come up on a daily basis.  I hope that maybe by helping myself through the use of this blog, I might help and reach others that struggle with alcoholism and addiction.  I am not a counselor, nor do I know anything about recovery from substance abuse.  I am just one alcoholic doing something for myself that I believe will help, and in doing that maybe I can help another suffering alcoholic.