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12 step AA hams harm reduction moderation peer support sobriety Uncategorized

Slippery Slope

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I have stopped going to AA meetings.  I felt pressured to attend meetings and pray daily.  I am not religious and I did not find that part helpful.  There are things I gained.  I don’t think I would have stayed sober this long without starting with AA.  The accountability was helpful.

I belong to a couple of Facebook pages. Secular AA, Moderation Management and HAMs. (Harm Reduction, Abstinence and Moderation). We are called HAMsters. I am leaning towards trying to moderate drinking to about two times a year. We are going out of town over my birthday. Someone gave us a bottle of champagne and I plan to have some. Then I plan to go alcohol free until our wedding anniversary in October.

My therapist warned me it is a “slippery slope” and how do I not know I won’t go back to drinking more often. And, that I plan to drink because we have champagne makes no sense to her.  I feel like if I have a plan, I can stick with it.  And, that AA is not the program for me because I want to be able to drink occasionally, like twice a year.  I won’t be alone.  I won’t be driving.

Am I just asking for trouble?

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12 step AA alcoholism mental health mental illness schizoaffective schizophrenia sobriety Uncategorized

Hearing What I Needed to Hear

90 days sober!

I went to a zoom AA meeting and someone said that you don’t try to control things that are already under control.  That was what I needed to hear.

I had all of these rules and thought my drinking was under control because: I didn’t drink and drive, I only drank in the evening, I got chores done before drinking, although I was pushing even those limits.

But, normal people just need one rule. Don’t drink too much.

I listed in a previous post how my life was unmanageable. I have to refer back to it to remind myself. I still have cravings even though I logically have decided I don’t want to continue drinking. I just remind myself of reasons I don’t want to drink.

I have schizoaffective disorder and I don’t want to interfere with stability, and alcohol does not play well with my medications. And, I am not very productive at home if I am drinking. Also, I think I was walking around with a mild hangover. My head feels more clear, I feel lighter now.

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12 step AA alcoholism higher power sobriety

60 Days

I made it to 60 days sober. 

I heard someone say their higher power comes to them through meditation.  That is something I can believe in.  Some kind of intuition, or inner wisdom.  I can’t define my higher power.  I don’t think I have to.  I am finished with step 2.  My sponsor has me reading stories from the Big Book.  We go over them once a week.

I have bought a kindle version and paperback of the Big Book.  Neither of them match pages with the hardback,  I am debating getting another copy. The kindle is convenient because I can take it anywhere easily, but it is a totally different version.  Different stories.  The paperback has the same content, just different page numbers.

My mood has improved. I just had some sad days. I guess everyone does.

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12 step AA alcoholism higher power mental health mental illness peer support schizoaffective schizophrenia Uncategorized

My head is spinning

I have been thinking of a higher power and talking with people and now I don’t know what to think. My sponsor says all I have to do is believe something, anything, outside of myself could, possibly restore me to sanity. That I can do, but choosing what to believe in is more complicated. I have trouble believing in a man in the sky. I started with the Universe or nature. I feel more connected with the world outdoors. But, I don’t know how the Universe could help me. They say you can have the fellowship of AA as your higher power but I don’t know about turning my will over to the group

I talked to.my therapist about my issue with psychosis and she reassured me that it is unlikely I will start getting delusional. It has been 15 years since my last psychotic episode. She thinks my issue is with religion I am getting support and staying sober. I don’t like going to meetings every day and calling my sponsor everyday. My therapist thought maybe I should cut back but do something with that time I have trouble expressing what I want. My sponsor said I don’t have to do anything and that they are suggestions.


The meeting tonight was on step 2 and our higher power. People spoke about their faith or issues with religion. One woman said she can’t define her higher power but it helps her. I have been reading “Untamed” by Glennon Doyle. In the book she listens to an inner wisdom that she calls God. I know my inner voice could help me, but that is not something outside of myself.


My friend does not think I have a problem and should not identify with an illness. That gets me wondering if I really need something outside to restore me. Is that something you can do on your own? I think my mind is shattered in a way and I have been searching for someone/ something to repair it.


So far I am staying with AA because it is not hurting anything and I am sober

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12 step AA alcoholism mental health mental illness Recovery sobriety Uncategorized

Gratitude

My sponsor has me send her a gratitude list. Five things I am grateful for every day, except when I forget. I have so much to be grateful for. My family, our dog, a home, food, furniture, our health and my sobriety, I am grateful my sponsor is understanding. I feel like my thinking is clearer. I have not had any other changes since stopping drinking that I have noticed.

I have moved onto Step 2. We read about agnostics and spiritual experiences in the big book.  She gave me an assignment but I will have to think about it.  I am not religious so she had me choose a higher power. I chose the Universe.  She wants me to write about how the Universe can help me.  I don’t know.  I will blog once I figure out what to write.

Today is Thanksgiving. I was invited to a relative’s but I have a cold, and my daughter wants to stay safe from Covid so we stayed home. I went to an AA meeting about gratitude by zoom. I am grateful for zoom meetings.I missed everyone but hopefully we can see them sometime soon.

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12 step AA alcoholism Recovery sobriety Uncategorized

1 day at a time

I made it past 30 days of sobriety. My sponsor mailed me a chip. It says 1 month on the front and the serenity prayer on the back. I just see her on zoom or talk over the phone because of Covid-19. I am still working on the first step. I wrote down reasons I am powerless over alcohol and my life is unmanageable in my last post.

Everything I wrote is true, but I still have trouble. I identify as an alcoholic in the meeting, but I don’t completely agree. They say all you need to join is a desire to quit drinking, which I do. So, I am part of AA day by day. Today I will go to a meeting and call my sponsor. I won’t worry about tomorrow until it gets here.

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12 step AA alcoholism mental health mental illness peer support schizoaffective schizophrenia

Giving AA a chance

I had gone from abstinence to trying moderation with alcohol. I started having drinks after work, alone. The problem with that was I was letting other things go. My husband was walking the dog alone and I was not even showering as often. I have fatigue issues which only became worse.

I went to a zoom NAMI seminar and a psychiatrist I admire, Luis Sandoval, was talking about schizophrenia. Someone asked about substance use and he responded, You take medications to help you think clearly, why would you take something that interferes with that? Logically, I have known this, but for some reason this time it hit me. I decided to go to a zoom AA meeting afterwards.

I found a woman’s meeting that meets at the same time every day and have been going as often as I can. My start date is Oct 13, so I only have a week of sobriety so far. I have a friend who is very involved in AA and is giving me pointers. I asked a woman to be my sponsor and she said yes. She has me calling her every day and we will zoom once a week. I ordered the big book on kindle and have started to read.

I am not religious. My mom is Catholic and I recognize some similarities. Prayers, confession, etc. they asked me to end the last meeting with a prayer and the only one I know is the Serenity prayer, which was fine.

There are other options, as far as groups go, but I want to give AA a try. My sponsor says I can choose my higher power. I have not figured that out yet.

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mental health mental illness NAMI Recovery Uncategorized

Why I Support NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness)

I was first introduced to NAMI when a friend told me about their Peer to peer program. I had heard of family to family, another of their signature programs. I signed up and was assigned to a class when one was starting up.

There were other people like me in the class and the mentors were doing well. That was the first time I had heard of recovery. We learned about relapse prevention, our illness, goal setting, advance directives and much more. We had a mindfulness exercise at the end of each session, I enjoyed it and even though I get really anxious, I signed up to mentor. I moved from that program to In Our Own Voice sharing my story of recovery. I still do those presentations.

I work as a Peer Mentor, but until very recently there was no standardized training. I took a mental health paraprofessional course years ago, have years of volunteer and work experience and recently took the NAMI Peer Support/Family Support Specialist training.

They also have support groups both for consumers and family, a warmline, and other programs.

The OC Warmline is only for Orange County, CA residents

Call or text: (714) 991-6412
Toll Free (877)-910-9276

They have an annual walk to raise money through donations. This year it was a virtual scavenger hunt. Usually it is a 5K walk. I walk to support NAMI because they have so many resources and have been able to help me and others.

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Therapy, one part of my recovery puzzle

I know not everyone can get or even wants therapy, but for me it is an important piece for my recovery.

My therapist retired last Dec. I had plenty of notice and found someone new. She is very qualified, but I could not connect. I would run out of things to say and leave early. Then COVID came. We did telephone and I tried texting, but nothing helped. I am convinced she is a good therapist, just not right for me.

Psychology Today has a section on the website called therapist finder. You can search by insurance, gender, location, specialty etc. I scoured it and found someone who’s website intrigued me. So, I contacted her. We spoke on the phone and I had my first telehealth visit Friday. It was not actually over ZOOM but similar

We went over my history. I took the whole time. She says she works in the present but we can address how the past affects the present. She is really upbeat, which reminds me of my sister. It is a good thing. I made another appointment.

I used to feel, maybe I still do, that I am broken and I need someone to fix me. Maybe, if I could change that view of being broken I would feel more empowered?

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alcoholism Dual diagnosis life lessons Recovery

Book Review: From Park Bench to Park Ave

https://anthonyhowardbrown.com/book/

I recently was introduced to the author of “From Park Bench to Park Avenue”, Anthony Brown, when he spoke via Zoom, to a group at work. His story is riveting. I have not been reading many books lately, but his was hard to put down, His writing style is like he is talking, telling you his story. And what a story.

When all you have are bad options, you make poor choices. He transformed his life from substance use, homelessness, incarceration to running programs and getting an education in nursing + much more.

He is turning a building, Brown Manor, into a home for homeless people, like he had been once. Proceeds from the book and donations are helping fund it.

I find him inspiring and definitely recommend his book.