Monday, September 26, 2016


Admission without acceptance is stealth denial.

Acceptance without action is stealth denial.

Action without guidance is stealth denial

An addict engaging in stealth denial courts relapse.


Or, as the old-timer once said: "If you're not going anywhere, any path will get you there."

Wednesday, September 21, 2016


The old-timer hadn't seen Mike at meetings for a long time when he ran into him grocery shopping. "Good to see you again, Mike. It's been a long time. How are you doing?"

"Okay," said Mike. "Got in a fight at work and lost my job. Things aren't so good at home, but I haven't used. And I know what you're going to say."

"You do?" said the old-timer.

"Yeah. You were going to say, why don't I go back to the meetings."

"So, why don't you?"

"Aw, the program just doesn't work for me," answered Mike.

"It doesn't work for me either," said the old-timer. "It doesn't work for anyone."


"To recover from addiction and experience that happy, joyous and free thing, you have to work the program."


Monday, September 19, 2016

Overheard at the Miracle in Alfred, Maine:
Three things you'll never hear from an addict: 1. "What's in it?" 2. "You go first." and 3. "No thanks. I've had enough."

Tuesday, June 07, 2016


I heard a fellow at a meeting years ago say that he was "powerless over everything." I supposed at the time he was overstating things attempting to express his powerlessness over the disease of addiction. But then he went on. He was powerless to change himself, powerless to resist that next drink, his sobriety due exclusively to the intervention of his higher power. He didn't last long.

Unless you go the route of the white-knuckle wonders, getting and staying clean is a team effort: Other recovering addicts, your sponsor, meetings, the Steps, your higher power, and YOU. If you are not on your own team, the program doesn't seem to work. If you are on your own team, that "happy, joyous and free" recovery is assured.

So what does being on your own team mean? Every member of a team has a function. Your function on your team is to go to any lengths to get and stay clean and do the work necessary to arrest the disease and build a new life. It involves numerous powers that you do possess:

You have the power to walk into that first meeting.

You have the power to ask for help.

You have the power to not use for twenty-four hours.

You have the power to ask someone to be your sponsor.

You have the power to follow the suggestions of your sponsor.

You have the power to read the program literature.

You have the power to work the Steps with your sponsor.

You have the power to not pick up that first drink or drug.

You have the power to choose your own higher power.

You have the power to seek help in your recovery from your higher power.

There are two attitudes when attending those first few meetings. The first attitude is: "How are you going to fix me?" The second attitude is: "What do I need to do to recover?" Guess which one leads to a life in recovery.

Saturday, March 26, 2016


"[Insert name of HP] help me focus on the present moment and fill my mind with the task at hand."

Friday, January 22, 2016


I sit in a meeting listening to a newcomer tell his or her story, and more often than not, I am secretly cheering for that person to listen, to grab onto the lifelines, take the suggestions, get a temporary sponsor, and make it to that next meeting. Often they do. When that is the last I see or hear of them, though, I worry.
I know worry is a message to my Higher Power telling him that I'll take care of it myself, and it usually takes me awhile to let go. If you have the disease of addiction, I want you to get clean and live that life of joy and freedom. Those who have this problem, I hope, want the same for me. It's that "one addict helping another" part of the program that has saved so many lives.
Those are meetings, however. I never thought I'd get the same feeling from viewing the statistics for this blog. Just numbers, right?
Here is the current breakdown of this blog's top page views:
United States
United Kingdom
New Zealand
For several months page views from Lebanon came in second and I wondered about those readers, about their stories, about the program in Lebanon. Few ever write to tell me, so I wonder. For three weeks page views from Russia came in number one, beating page views from all other countries including the U.S. For the past two weeks nothing from Russia and nothing from Lebanon.
People move, people go back out again, people reach out to different forms of help and entertainment, and as a sponsor of mine once said, "There is no rule that says anyone has to check in with you before making a change in his or her life."
Which is very true. Still I wonder. I hate reading the opening chapter to a really interesting story then losing the book.

Thursday, January 21, 2016


A friend of mine showed me this. It is titled "Memories of Alcohol."

"I drank for happiness and became unhappy. I drank for joy and became miserable. I drank for sociability and became argumentative. I drank for sophistication and became obnoxious. I drank for friendship and made enemies. I drank for strength and felt weak. I drank for relaxation and got the shakes. I drank for courage and became afraid. I drank for confidence and became doubtful. I drank to make conversation easier and slurred my speech. I drank to feel heavenly and ended up feeling like hell."    —Anonymous

There are a good many program sayings, writings such as that above, that strike so true to an addict, that thing we call "identification" happens. What is identification? It's that feeling that comes up from your gut and meets that realization in your brain that says, "Oh, yeah. Me too."

 A shorter version of the above goes like this: "Alcohol gave me wings, then it took away the sky."

 So what does this have to do with drug addiction? From my book, Saint Mary Blue:

There was the lecture last evening after that inedible dinner. Jacob hadn't been paying very close attention.  He had been sitting on the new fish row, the back.  Something the lecturer had said stuck.
"The most prominent symptom is that it's the disease that tells you that you haven't got it."
Someone from the front.  "You mean alcoholism?"
"What about drug addiction?"
"Are you one of those curious persons who believes that ethanol isn't a drug?"
"I know it's a drug, but aren't the diseases different?  Isn't alcoholism different than drug addiction?"
"The difference between drugs and alcohol: it's like changing seats on the Titanic."
Jacob had laughed.  It was a good line.

 Alcohol is a drug, and an alcoholic is a drug addict addicted to the drug ethanol. Deluding yourself that doing without alcohol and continuing to use other drugs is all you need to do to be "sober" is the kind of snobbery that can kill you.