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Postby j-ol » Thu May 24, 2018 5:40 pm

bongo wrote:also - ctw, other people who strike me as more versed in recovery lit - what are some titles that have been valuable to you?

i am interested in john berrymans "the recovery" right now, may pick that up next


i think i'll pick up jamison's book, even though i normally steer clear of hardcover editions. y'all have piqued my interest in this one... recovery memoirs are sorta dime/dozen but i'm drawn to the existence of a literary account that discusses the relationship between intoxication and creativity, devotes a chapter to carver, etc. will report back!

i found marc lewis' memoirs of an addicted brain to be really insightful. he's a developmental psychologist/neuroscientist who battled polysubstance addiction for years, got kicked out of grad school for stealing and getting high on research chemicals, and is now a professor in holland who debates nora volkow about whether addiction is a diease. his newer work, the biology of desire, is essential reading as well imo.

oh and def read mate's in the realm of hungry ghosts.
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Postby bongo » Sat May 26, 2018 6:57 pm

i’m at a wedding and i realized it’s my first sober wedding as an adult. usually would be pounding bourbons and wine and ultimately making a fool of myself/doing something inappropriate/blacking out

been playing with some kids and taking peoples pictures and talking to a woman who just turned 102(!) and drinking dr browns root beer. it’s great!
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Postby antoine » Sat May 26, 2018 7:12 pm

j-ol wrote:
bongo wrote:also - ctw, other people who strike me as more versed in recovery lit - what are some titles that have been valuable to you?

i am interested in john berrymans "the recovery" right now, may pick that up next


i think i'll pick up jamison's book, even though i normally steer clear of hardcover editions. y'all have piqued my interest in this one... recovery memoirs are sorta dime/dozen but i'm drawn to the existence of a literary account that discusses the relationship between intoxication and creativity, devotes a chapter to carver, etc. will report back!

i found marc lewis' memoirs of an addicted brain to be really insightful. he's a developmental psychologist/neuroscientist who battled polysubstance addiction for years, got kicked out of grad school for stealing and getting high on research chemicals, and is now a professor in holland who debates nora volkow about whether addiction is a diease. his newer work, the biology of desire, is essential reading as well imo.

oh and def read mate's in the realm of hungry ghosts.

Yeah I read memoirs of an addicted brain and really liked it. All the details of the neuroscience behind why we crave drugs/alcohol was interesting. Like there's a whole biological level behind everything, it's not just "I like drinking that's why I drink". It's interesting to think about how much agency we really have when so much of it is driven by this or that amount of chemicals joining and guiding our decisions and wants and desires.
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Postby ripersnifle » Sat May 26, 2018 9:13 pm

bongo wrote:i’m at a wedding and i realized it’s my first sober wedding as an adult. usually would be pounding bourbons and wine and ultimately making a fool of myself/doing something inappropriate/blacking out

been playing with some kids and taking peoples pictures and talking to a woman who just turned 102(!) and drinking dr browns root beer. it’s great!
this is sick and exactly what i plan on doing at one in Aug.
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Postby bear » Thu May 31, 2018 12:34 am

a bit of a ramble about how I'm feeling

I'm having a hard time this week. I feel shitty, aimless, alone, dumb, unaccomplished, wishing I didn't care about being accomplished ... falling into old habits I've slowly pried myself from, mostly compulsive computer use. I dunno. I was just on vacation, and my whole routine got screwed up. I was running a bunch for a race, but now that's over, and my running really has slacked. thinking out loud through typing here.. I guess like, I have to remember how important all that small stuff is in aggregate. the exercise and the fulfilling habits. and if I just stick to taking care of the small stuff the "who am I and what am I doing with my life" doubts kind of fall away. but then part of me thinks maybe .. that's a bad thing? am I band-aiding legitimate concerns? maybe I _should_ be questioning my life's direction? but also like, staying clean is the most important thing .. and i'm getting ahead of myself, and losing perspective.. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ .. I just have a lot of shame around not being good enough or smart enough to work through
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Postby average deceiver » Thu May 31, 2018 1:21 am

how'd the race go?
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Postby bear » Thu May 31, 2018 1:39 am

it went really well!
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Postby john plainman » Thu May 31, 2018 3:59 am

Life doesn't wait around for me to recover from over a decade of self destruction. It's not the abstaining that's hard for me anymore, it's trying to be productive, responsible, and mentally well now that my brain doesn't have it's regular intake of weed, nicotine, and alcohol

It's been over three months now and it bums me out that I don't feel much different. Not really better, maybe even worse... Less heartburn/chestpains at least.

I just want to stay in bed for a year, or like, check into a psych waff, but I have so many people relying on me in some form. Fuck!
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Postby tea preacher » Thu May 31, 2018 6:41 am

john plainman wrote:Life doesn't wait around for me to recover from over a decade of self destruction. It's not the abstaining that's hard for me anymore, it's trying to be productive, responsible, and mentally well now that my brain doesn't have it's regular intake of weed, nicotine, and alcohol

It's been over three months now and it bums me out that I don't feel much different. Not really better, maybe even worse... Less heartburn/chestpains at least.

I just want to stay in bed for a year, or like, check into a psych waff, but I have so many people relying on me in some form. Fuck!


Early sobriety is rough man, hang in there. I’ve spent a good amount of time lately reminiscing (probably the wrong word) about how raw I felt coming in to AA. That feeling definitely lasted a few months (6 at least), and I had a “soft bottom” - no DUI, etc. Anyway, I say that not to depress you, but maybe suggest your expectations are a little high for how things are supposed to feel at this point.

At the end of the day if you can go to bed each night and haven’t drank or taken a drug, that’s a victory.
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Postby bongo » Thu May 31, 2018 7:09 am

hang in there bear and pierrot i’m proud of both of you guys. both of your posts resonate with me for different reasons and i have been/sometimes am in a similar place. this helps me: try to remember that these raw/hard/total shit feelings are the stuff of humanity and life. that there’s a great value in dealing with them authentically and not blunting or obliterating them. keep it up.
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Postby RIXX » Thu May 31, 2018 7:42 am

i didn't really feel better after getting sober for like a year after, and that was only when i confronted the reasons behind why i couldn't feel at ease alone with myself without some sort of substance abuse or addictive behavior

but i did turn into World's Biggest 'Morning Person' almost immediately. i like go to the gym at 6AM and stroll into work at 7AM voluntarily now just to hang out in peace before people get there

anyway what up fam..got the thread book...i've only read the first couple of pages so far and i love her prose and i haven't been this excited about a book in a while. i told a friend about it yesterday and he gave me shit and was like "my only book is the BIG BOOK" and i was like ok whatever dude
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Postby RIXX » Thu May 31, 2018 7:45 am

I tried taking that picture like Dave Bautista "Power & the Glory" and it just didn't work out, unfortunately
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Postby bongo » Thu May 31, 2018 7:55 am

the cult of the big book is so unfortunate in the way that it kind of moralizes/shames/seeks to invalidate other recovery literature (and even recovery outside of AA as such). of course i understand why it’s this way (we bind ourselves most completely to the things that we need for surivival and sanity, blind spots be damned) it would be nice if it could soften a bit

the jamison book actually got me interested in AA, generated an awareness of and respect for it in me that gets buried by both the cultural location AA has been slotted into and by the exclusionary/cliquey/“your recovery is less valid than mine because you aren’t in meetings” vibe i get from some adherents i’ve encountered personally
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Postby Jerry Lundegaard » Thu May 31, 2018 12:10 pm

really really IDing with those bear/plainman posts. thanks for those. stick with it guys, it may not seem like it but i can wholeheartedly say that you are in a better place, and that if you have made the decision to go sober, you did so for a reason. and whatever they are, they are good reasons. preacher is right about each day's victory. try not to expect too much from your sobriety. everything in its due time.

@bear do you think maybe you could sign up for another race?

@bongo, it's strange for me to reflect on the fact that i white-knuckled my recovery, have never been to a meeting once (except for NA a long time ago for a different reason). i have very little interactions with AA members but when i was in the states and i mentioned my sobriety people would ask me how i did it and if i attended. it feels so rare to encounter another totally sober person. i wonder if my experiences would be validated or respected or received without taking the steps. i also disliked the fact that these people say addiction is terrible and it ruins lives and then would go smoke cigarettes right after a meeting, but that's kind of *shrugs*.
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Postby bongo » Thu May 31, 2018 12:33 pm

yeah i feel all that, same boat for me

the jamison book definitely recontextualized AA for me a bit. more than anything id love to be a sponsor and i feel like i could do good work in that regard. obviously that would require me to have done the steps myself though and unless i relapse i dont see myself pursuing AA as i am, for the time being, very happy in sobriety (im not naive to the precariousness of this though)
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Postby goldsoundz » Thu May 31, 2018 12:50 pm

yeah i've definitely thought before of how i could help others who are struggling similarly as i did, but i didn't do AA either (and have no interest in it). the other volunteering options just don't seem to be there
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Postby bear » Thu May 31, 2018 1:25 pm

this seems like a pretty interest alternative to *Anonymous meetings: https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2017/11/the-club-where-you-bare-your-soul-to-strangers/545786/
https://www.authrev.com/

it's not focused on drugs, but I don't think AA/NA are really about that either so much as they're about healing each other through community. it sounded kinda cheesy at first in the Atlantic article (maybe mostly because of the name), but I started looking through the games, and it seems really .. fun? and well thought out. it might provide a similar type of bottom-up group therapy without the prescriptivism of the 12 steps.
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Postby j-ol » Thu May 31, 2018 2:14 pm

Jerry Lundegaard wrote: i also disliked the fact that these people say addiction is terrible and it ruins lives and then would go smoke cigarettes right after a meeting, but that's kind of *shrugs*.


this always struck me as odd too. it sort of symbolizes the false pretenses of AA evangelism, and in that sense it actually matters. some people in the fellowship will lecture others about their "disease" until they're blue in the face but can't see the obvious contradiction... that if this were really true, none of them would be ok about the necessity of nicotine, or relationships/sex, or any other addictive process at work in their lives.

i see AA as a baby/bathwater scenario. the baby is the support, shame reduction, the empathy, the connectedness, and ultimately the clarity and sobriety gained in the process. the bathwater is basically predictable runoff of human shortcomings like ego, greed, envy, etc.
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Postby antoine » Thu May 31, 2018 2:22 pm

Nicotine is a hell of a lot more addictive than alcohol, at least in a biological sense. And it doesn't alter your consciousness and turn you into someone else the way alcohol does. It's not gonna make you fight someone or wreck a car. They're different things imo. Don't really think it's fair to get puritanical about cigs at AA.
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Postby antoine » Thu May 31, 2018 2:25 pm

Might as well get mad at there being free coffee at meetings
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Postby bongo » Thu May 31, 2018 2:27 pm

i don’t think anyone’s getting puritanical but if you’re prosthelytizing big book tenets from a higher ground it’s at least a bit ironic to be ok with nicotine and other addictions be they substance, sex, food, shopping etc
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Postby came to wreck » Thu May 31, 2018 2:31 pm

when i got sober i actually started smoking cigs. like i had bummed and smoked them many times before but i didn't buy my first pack and become a real smoker until i got sober. i def needed something else to fill the hole created by stopping drugs and alcohol and like antoine inferred, a cig will not kill me as quickly or do as much harm to me and others as my drinking and drugging did. after 7ish yrs i was able to stop smoking cigs and quit nicotine overall. idk if i would have been able to stay sober or it def wouldnt have been as easy in the beginning if i didnt have that crutch of nicotine (and caffeine) to cling to. the purpose of aa isnt to overcome addiction, its to overcome drinking and help others do so as well. if it was to overcome all addictions there would be way less ppl staying sober lol
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Postby antoine » Thu May 31, 2018 2:32 pm

I doubt they're okay with it. I'm not okay with my nicotine addiction and want to quit. I dunno, I don't go to meetings and haven't read the book either. Not arguing for AA really, just saying people recover from their addictions at different speeds and in different ways. I don't think it's fair to condemn anyone for not extinguishing all their negative addictive behaviors and patterns all at once. Maybe that's not whats going on here though. I don't even think you have to be sober to go to AA meetings. The point of it is to have a desire to be rid of this stuff.
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Postby bongo » Thu May 31, 2018 2:36 pm

ctw i feel that totally. i think cigs are very useful for getting off booze/intoxicating substances in that they don’t get you wasted. it’s a big shame they’re so addictive and terrible for you though. there’s a very clear and understandable reason why cigs are such an familiar rehab trope.

i quit both at once, whiteknuckled. i replaced them by escalating my other compulsions (tea, clothes, rexords) and then adjusted those back down when i could
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Postby RIXX » Thu May 31, 2018 2:38 pm

bongo wrote:i don’t think anyone’s getting puritanical but if you’re prosthelytizing big book tenets from a higher ground it’s at least a bit ironic to be ok with nicotine and other addictions be they substance, sex, food, shopping etc


technically you are supposed to tackle every addiction including nicotine if you are doing the steps right, my sponsor approached issues in order of most urgent/pressing to my survival and then went from there. but most AA meetings and people going to them don't follow the tenets of the big book at all. it's a lot like organized religion. my sponsor barely even advocated going to meetings because he thought most were terrible

i stopped having a sponsor and doing AA stuff for other reasons besides all this tho
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Postby pablito » Thu May 31, 2018 2:39 pm

ya the first year of being sober i played board games addictively and the second year i bought tea compulsively and was furiously suckin on a snus throughout but having the clarity of mind to reflect on my own behavior and learn how to change it was ultimately a lot more valuable than trying to eliminate all addictive behavior right away
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Postby mooncalf » Thu May 31, 2018 2:52 pm

bongo wrote:i don’t think anyone’s getting puritanical but if you’re prosthelytizing big book tenets from a higher ground it’s at least a bit ironic to be ok with nicotine and other addictions be they substance, sex, food, shopping etc

Humility is one of the touchstones of the 12 steps, though there are those that seem to forget that at times. And hypocrites exist both inside and outside of AA, which is of course unsurprising. What works for me is to listen to everybody at a meeting, even those that I disagree with. When I find myself getting angry at what someone is saying, it's a reminder to me not to be that way. And to not be that way in my life in general, not just AA meetings. When someone is preaching from the hilltop, when they are saying there is only one true way to get sober, I have a natural visceral rejection of that idea. But what they are saying is what worked for them. Even though it is not the message that I carry and it is not a message that appeals to me, who am I to say that there is not someone else who may be helped by it.

As to other negative behaviors, it's an AA cliche, but progress not perfection makes sense to me. I needed to work on my grosser handicaps before I could address other unhealthy behaviors that negatively affect my life. Principally, before I was able to get and stay sober, progress in any other areas was nigh impossible. And I'm not sure that I believe that there are many that are OK with other addictions, especially ones that tend to cause harm in interpersonal relations. It's just that sometimes there are bigger fish to fry.
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Postby antoine » Thu May 31, 2018 3:02 pm

mooncalf wrote:
bongo wrote:i don’t think anyone’s getting puritanical but if you’re prosthelytizing big book tenets from a higher ground it’s at least a bit ironic to be ok with nicotine and other addictions be they substance, sex, food, shopping etc

Humility is one of the touchstones of the 12 steps, though there are those that seem to forget that at times. And hypocrites exist both inside and outside of AA, which is of course unsurprising. What works for me is to listen to everybody at a meeting, even those that I disagree with. When I find myself getting angry at what someone is saying, it's a reminder to me not to be that way. And to not be that way in my life in general, not just AA meetings. When someone is preaching from the hilltop, when they are saying there is only one true way to get sober, I have a natural visceral rejection of that idea. But what they are saying is what worked for them. Even though it is not the message that I carry and it is not a message that appeals to me, who am I to say that there is not someone else who may be helped by it.

As to other negative behaviors, it's an AA cliche, but progress not perfection makes sense to me. I needed to work on my grosser handicaps before I could address other unhealthy behaviors that negatively affect my life. Principally, before I was able to get and stay sober, progress in any other areas was nigh impossible. And I'm not sure that I believe that there are many that are OK with other addictions, especially ones that tend to cause harm in interpersonal relations. It's just that sometimes there are bigger fish to fry.

Good post
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Postby bear » Thu May 31, 2018 4:25 pm

yea I actually know a lot of people that have used the steps on nicotine. but usually in their second go around. it's a pragmatic approach that does seem a little at odds with the strict view about substance use. coffee and cigarettes are certainly mood or mind altering to a degree. and I think in the beginning (of NA, anyway), I've been told, some people advocated categorizing nicotine and coffee as unclean, but others said no fuckin way. but you know, I think it's a useful contradiction, so maybe that's why it persists. and I do sometimes wonder where the line is with other things. like can I take st. john's wort? what about piracetam? what about mail order viagra? I've also heard that some people in AA smoke weed, and AA is fine with that? I dunno! everyone works their own recovery and has determine for themselves what's "clean" or "sober" to them.
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Postby antoine » Thu May 31, 2018 4:29 pm

I mean I quit nicotine for over a year and relapsed. Relapses are things that happen and are things that are addressed in recovery. It's not really helpful to view relapses as failures or something to be ashamed of. I've still maintained my sobriety from alcohol, which is more important to me and I aim to quit nicotine in the near future.
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