I shall take the heart…

“I shall take the heart,” returned the Tin Woodsman; “for brains do not make one happy, and happiness is the best thing in the world.” ― L. Frank Baum, The Wonderful Wizard of OzGrowing up in a theatrical and artistic household once a year that we would all sit down and watch the classic 1939 film, THE WIZARD OF OZ. Little did I realize during all of those endless viewings just how closely my own story would mirror that of the classic tale I was forced to watch.  My life as I knew it then was in sepia, just like the beginning of the movie. A colorless brown hued story. Also, as in the movie, a storm was brewing, I couldn’t help but watch, as it inched closer and closer. I remember running back into my house desperately looking for comfort, everything around me in dull hues, especially my senses….

Continue Reading

Dealing With Frustration

frustration

Recovery is obviously a true blessing in our lives. For alcoholics and addicts, recovery is among the greatest gifts we could ever receive. Working the Twelve Steps changes nearly every part of our lives, and it often changes us in ways that make us much happier and more peaceful. However, life is still life, even in recovery. Not every day is sunshine and rainbows, though admittedly the sun shines a lot brighter and more often in recovery. But we will still face troubling times on occasion, and we will still have to deal with negative emotions. Luckily, recovery offers us many helpful ways to weather such storms of life. Life does not stop being life in recovery. It is still subject to ups and downs, hard times and good times, tragedy and euphoria. What recovery does is help us navigate the inevitabilities of life with peace, calm, and clear direction….

Continue Reading

Men’s Issues: I Don’t Want To Lose My Friends

friends in recovery

It may or may not be surprising to hear that one of the most common concerns for those of us who are new to recovery is the potential loss of friends. We may fear that our friends will abandon us once we adopt the recovery lifestyle or, on the flip side, that we will have to leave certain friends behind to ensure our own recovery. Either way you slice it, friendships tend to cause a lot of worry in early recovery. Friendships are normally a happy part of life, so it seems strange that such a good thing could make us hesitant about our own recovery. True friendships should be able to endure whatever lifestyle changes the people involved make, especially when it means life or death for one of them. But sadly, this is not always the case. Hence, potentially losing friendships becomes an issue of real concern for…

Continue Reading

Yesterday’s Home Runs Don’t Count in Today’s Game

resting on your laurels

Anybody who has spent time in recovery or read the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous enough has heard the phrase “resting on our laurels.” This is an old saying based on Greek and Roman culture, where winners of competitions were granted crowns of laurel leaves (laurels). Resting on our laurels is when we are too easy on ourselves, counting on our past successes to carry us through the present and the future. A modern version of this saying is “Yesterday’s home runs don’t count in today’s game.” The meaning is the same — our past successes are wonderful, but they aren’t enough to live fully in the present or keep fear of the future at bay. In recovery, sayings like this take on a slightly new meaning. What they come to mean in the rooms of recovery would be something like “The work you did for your recovery yesterday won’t…

Continue Reading

The Society of Our Fellows

community in recovery

Isolation and “Lone Wolf syndrome” are extremely common modes of operation for alcoholics and addicts. The reason why going solo is so popular among people like us is complicated. It’s partly because we are defiant, independent people, and partly because we are often very emotionally sensitive people. We like to do our own thing and we get frustrated when something stands in our way, so we go it alone. We also like to try and feel good all the time, and many of our actions, habits, and behaviors can cause harm to those around us. We don’t like hurting people or making them sad, so we find it easier to live alone as much as possible. The problem is that going it alone does harm in its own way, too. We can’t avoid our way into or out of relationships. No matter how independent, isolated, or alone we make ourselves,…

Continue Reading

Men’s Issues: Healthy Sex Conduct

man-in-bed-sexual-health

If we’re an adult male of any stripe, the odds are good that sex is a pretty big part of our life. Especially if we’re a man in recovery for alcoholism or addiction, there’s a whole section of inventory just for sexual conduct. It’s clearly pretty important. It’s also a minefield for a whole mess of reasons. Heartbreak. Emotional attachment. Love. Sex. Relationships. Children. Marriage. And many, many more. What makes it all the more confusing is that each of us has our own personal idea of what’s right and wrong, what’s ideal, and what’s a dealbreaker. Generally, most people don’t want to be alone, but some people aren’t ready to settle down. What if we like someone who doesn’t like us back? What if we like too many people at the same time? What if we’re lonely? The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous has this to say: “We do…

Continue Reading

How To Reconnect to Our Purpose

Purpose is a big word. The greatest minds in history have been trying to answer this question for ages. But for alcoholics and addicts like us, purpose may be a lot easier to come by than we thought. What Is Purpose? The dictionary defines the word purpose as “the reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists.” It’s very common and very human to seek purpose. We want to know the purpose of our existence — the reason why we’re here. We want to know the reason why we do the things we do. We want to understand the purpose of all that we do and all that we are. There are many other seekers of purpose who have taken their best guess at the reason for existence. Some find it in religion, others in science. Some find purpose in giving, others in achieving. There are…

Continue Reading

9th-Step Promises and the 9th-Step Funk

man-walking-outdoors-looking-back

For those who have spent even just a little time in the rooms of recovery, we are aware of the 12-Steps. Hopefully, we’ve gotten ourselves busy and started working on the 12-Steps with our sponsor. That’s all we need to find freedom and recovery — a copy of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, a sponsor, and honesty, open-mindedness, and willingness. That’s truly all it takes to change our lives! It’s also likely that if we have begun the 12-Step process, we have heard rumors or people’s opinions about what the journey will be like. We may have heard that the 4th-Step is difficult or that the 1st-Step must be perfect. We hear lots of things. It’s always helpful to keep in mind that if it isn’t written in the Big Book, then we need to take it with a grain of salt. When it comes to the 9th-Step, we…

Continue Reading

How Nature Helps Us Find Our Inner Wild Man

man-jumping-in-air

The myth of the wild man is an ancient one. The wild man lives free and true, outside the boundaries we all share. He’s one with nature, one with himself. He fully knows himself, and he lives by his own code. He is strong, fierce, and helpful. A guide. A protector. But the wild man does not just live alone in isolated natural wildlands. The wild man lives within each one of us. But just like finding the wild man in ancient myths, it takes a real journey to locate him — even inside ourselves. Your Journey Has Already Begun Whether you’re very familiar or have never heard tales about the wild man before, if you’re here reading this, it’s very likely that your personal journey to find your own inner wild man has already begun. The search itself is part of what brought you here. See, we’re all looking…

Continue Reading

Anxiety in Recovery

anxiety in recovery

Anxiety is something that every single one of us has experienced at some point in our lives. It’s a common reaction and response to certain situations and events. When we’re faced with anything uncertain or unknown, it’s pretty natural to feel nervous, worried, or uneasy. There isn’t anything wrong with being anxious from time to time, but anxiety can become much more than just an occasional response to certain conditions. For some, anxiety can become a persistent feeling. Anxiety can even grow to the point of being a disorder. In fact, it’s the most common mental health issue among adults, affecting over 40 million people. Given how common anxiety is, especially for alcoholics and addicts, let’s take a closer look at anxiety in general and how we can use the tools of recovery to help us with anxiety issues. The Issue With Anxiety In some circumstances, anxiety is a normal…

Continue Reading

Read more