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I Refused

How Have I Made It This Far?I Refused

Raymond Kyle

Founder Warrior Foundation.

For many of us our past at times may have made us wonder how we are still alive today? Well I will tell you how….by the grace of God!

We all have done things in our lives or put ourselves in situations that it’s a miracle we made it out of. For some of us like myself it seemed to become and everyday thing. We would willingly put ourselves out there not caring what the outcome would be. Escaping death for the first time was scary but then it no longer became a fear it became who we were.

You may ask why God would save us time and time again when we didn’t even attempt to save ourselves. Why would he save us and not the ones who died doing the same things we were? Well all I can say is its by his grace we are here today! His mercy and his love is what has gotten us to this point in our lives.

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He is a father to us all so therefore he protects his children. If you are one of us blessed children of God that has lived the life of addiction and crime then you are here still cause you have a purpose that you need to fulfill. So to you I say quit asking why you are here and start asking how do I fulfill my purpose. God has a plan and it’s up to us to fulfill than plan. God bless you!

Raymond C. Kyle

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Tap Into You – Do You Believe???????

How many times in our lives have we not done something simply because we didn’t believe in ourselves, simply because we didn’t think we were deserving or worthy, simply because we was afraid that we would fail?

Raymond Kyle

Founder Warrior Foundation.


The answer to that question is easy, too many times we have used these excuses to avoid doing something cause of fear, doubt, or uncertainty. The thought of failure for many of us is a looming distraction that ultimately keeps us from achieving the greatness that each one of us was created to be.

 

 

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We cannot tap into our full potential and we cannot be the Kings and Queens we were created to be by continuing to allow society, or another individual to tell us who we are and what we can or cannot do. We must face our fears, no matter how hard it may be it’s vital to our growth. We must overcome the doubt, and stop putting limits on ourselves and what we are capable of. We must quit allowing outside forces to define who we are, we are good enough, smart enough,pretty enough, and deserving of the life we are striving to live.

It is my challenge to you to begin tapping into your full potential each and every day. Show no mercy. Hold back nothing. Step into greatness where you were born to be. God bless you my friends.

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I lived with a group of all male roommates when I was 18 and still experimenting. I had yet to know what full-blown drug addiction was.

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Chelsearae SFYB Contributing Author

I lived in a city with a beautiful landscape surrounded by mountains, but I spent most of my 18th summer locked inside, smoking, snorting, and swallowing substances, instead of enjoying it. My roommate and best friend, Miles, always (at least in the beginning) had a lot of money, but I never saw him go to one day of work.

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He would make vague claims about his past in Seattle and the money he saved from working at a nice restaurant there. He would describe to me how easy it was to be nice and outgoing to the customers when he was on Oxy. I still couldn’t understand how someone could actually walk around and function, let alone go to work on this stuff.

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I had absolutely no money, (though I did have a car we could use so I felt I was contributing in a way), and he paid for everything. He even bought all of my paintings, which I had a stack of when I met him. He put them up all around the place. I didn’t paint again for quite a long time, although it used to be my number one passion.

 We did cocaine, pills, OxyContin, and smoked a lot of weed when none of those were available. I considered all of these people close friends of mine.

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One friend that would come over was named Spencer. Spencer had won 20 grand on a scratch ticket and had become a hardcore drug addict as the result. His poison was smoking oxy off of foil. He was big guy and pretty attractive a lot of bling, liked gold chains and rings but acted like a child a most of the time. He used to drive around, smoking oxy, get so high he would throw up out the window, and turn around and continue smoking more. A real dumb-ass once you got to know him

He would blow the smoke into a balloon and re-inhale it until it was gone. Sometimes he would pass the balloon to me. Spencer would either be really nice to me, or call me names. He would literally call me a bitch and say I was worthless, and then stop and smile and tell me I was awesome.

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Spencer and I used to bicker like siblings, and one day he and I, along with 3 or 4 other friends were sitting in Miles’s room smoking weed or something. Things escalated and I pushed him, it was playful and we were laughing and he pushed me to the floor, he was holding down my arms and I started getting a little freaked out and told him to get off me. Instead of getting off me he pulled my shirt down and I started getting really scared and screaming for him to stop. Instead of stopping he pulled my bathing suit top over in front of everyone. Everyone saw what happened and no one said anything, and when I recall this I wonder if they would have said anything if he proceeded to pull the rest of my clothes off or go even further than that.

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Thankfully it went no further than that and he got up off of me. I re-adjusted my top and left the room. I did not move out or stop talking to them like I probably should have, but just pretended nothing happened and continued living there. Luckily Spencer didn’t come over that often.

It wasn’t long after I discover Stop Frying Your Brain, they had lots of funny clips and great articles that I started reading. Then as I read, I slowly realized I had a pretty serious problem. One day I reached out to them. They hooked me up with a first class center. Great People.

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Robert Henslee

SFYB Founder/CEO

Vulnerability Is Powerful and Beautiful

There is something about tearing down all those walls it took years to build and kicking fears ass. It takes a great amount of courage to be vulnerable, to take the mask off and show the truest version of yourself to the world. That courage takes you to a whole new level of living a life on purpose. The beauty of vulnerability is that we are changing ourselves and the lives of others. By being vulnerable we are not only showing the world we accept and love ourselves as we are but that we accept and love each other. Vulnerability radiates compassion and that alone brings in and gives a tremendous amount of support.

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You Are Not Your Past

You have started over and it’s time to grab a hold of the NOW. Your past does not define you, nor does your addiction. Everything is fresh and new and it’s time to step out of the shadows of the past. Who you are is a culmination of all things beautiful and tragic leading up to what you are made of and who you are. You will forever continue to grow emotionally through life experiences if you put the work into recovery.

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Who you are will change every day because each moment adds to the nature of our being, not just one event. You are seeing the world, people, places and events and most importantly yourself through a new set of eyes. There is nothing, absolutely nothing that you can do to change the past, it’s over and done with. Nothing good will ever come out of going back time and time again with the “I wish I would have done this”, or “I wish I wouldn’t have done that”. You are here, right here in this very moment and you have all the power within you to appreciate the tolerable, if not beautiful moments now.

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You Have the Ability to Control Your Thoughts

More than likely you have had thousands and thousands of negative thoughts about yourself and your life. Stop! There is no need to sabotage the love for yourself, your family, or life for that matter any longer. Believe it or not, we are not here to live in misery although many of us have been through some very difficult life lessons. You have the ability to control how much energy you put into the negative and into the positive thoughts that come to your mind.

The truth is no one is positive 100% of the time; life makes that impossible because of the events we must go through that are out of our control but necessary for human growth. Of course you can’t help it when something triggers and a thought that is painful, unpleasant or downright unbearable; but you have the ability to take that negative thought and focus on something positive and positivity trumps negativity every time! It is imperative you do this for the way we think is the way we live, the way we learn to love ourselves again.

Doing this opens up the allowance of receiving positive things back into your life. If you put practice into this, and I mean on every thought you have, the more pleasant your thoughts become and when you get really good at it, it will start coming to you naturally. We think becomes what we attract. If you want a life filled with an abundance of love, laughter, friends, better jobs, closer relationships start focusing on controlling your thoughts now! When you start to have a better outlook on life and you shift that energy from negative to positive your whole world changes. You have paid your dues, you deserve to live a happy life regardless of your past.

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Even Without Anything You Are Everything

Through your life of addiction you may have lost family members, relationships, homes, friendships, jobs, your driving privileges or custody of your children and you may have lost it all at the same time like I did. Although there is a deep level of pain that comes with losing it all, there is a tremendous blessing in it. You may have been stripped of everything that gave you an identity, all things you were attached to; but the beauty comes from being alone and without attachments, so that you are forced to look at yourself and find who your truly are. You have been humbled, the ego has been deflated or completely removed. With this come a great amount of clarity and a perfect time to find out who you are and you need look where you may have never looked before.

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The opportunity is here now to dig beyond who you thought you were and discover the nature of your being, who you truly are deep down in your soul and you will be surprised at just how much beauty you will find when you allow yourself and dedicate yourself to digging down deep enough. You now have the ability to be present and start appreciating what you have and not what you don’t. This takes patience, guidance and discipline. We are told “To seek through prayer and meditation”, meditation is often overlooked because we are so accustomed to asking through prayer for what we need. When you meditate you find what you already have everything you need. You don’t have to be a Yogi to do this, you don’t have to climb mountains or travel the world! You can do this wherever and whenever you like. Through proper guidance and discipline you will find that everything you ever needed is in you already; faith, love, beauty, courage, compassion, companionship, will, acceptance, passion, authenticity, and forgiveness. It is when you find that, there is nothing that will hold the value that you once gave it and you will never feel alone.

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You Can Be the Person You Want To Be

You are free! You surrendered to the addiction and you are a Warrior! You are a bad ass! You have done one of the hardest things in life. You are taking control back over your life and you no longer are the person alcohol made you think that you were. You are unstoppable now. So go back to a time when you had big dreams, go back to a time when you had a passion for something that you didn’t pursue because the addiction or fear may have held you back. If that passion is still running deep, make your dreams a reality my friend for you have nothing to lose and everything to gain. It is time to be who you were meant to be from the very beginning of your existence; YOU!

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lisa

SFYB Staff Writer

Sober Survival at Parties

By: Lisa

On Day 43 of my sobriety, I let myself ‘out of my sober bubble’ and went to a party. My first party sober in my lifetime!!!!!!! I purposely arrived two hours late because I was really nervous so I waited until I knew there would be lots of people there so I could ‘blend in.’

Sober Survival at Parties

I rocked in looking fabulous as I had promised to myself.

While driving there my legs felt like jelly and I was really shaky.  Then I pulled myself together and told myself, “You are a grown up successful woman, with 3 kids and these are your friends”

That helped calm my nerves.

Remember (I didn’t know this then, –  alcoholism actually affects your central nervous system and it can take years to recover properly). No wonder I was so nervous. I arrived and immediately made sure I got ‘busy’ chatting to people.

I took a big bottle of pre mixed lime and soda with me and kept my glass nice and full at all times.

Luckily the birthday girl loves to dance, so she cranked the music and we boogied on down.  I actually got really hot and sweaty, I sure wasn’t expecting that from the night.

Earlier in the week the host had sent me a text prompting me to stay ’till the end and dance around the lounge.’ This implied she was expecting me to drink a lot as she well knows me for. She likes her wine this girl so because I was new to the sober partying thing, I was nervous about the staying late expectation.

As the night went on, I listened to people repeating themselves, I watched them spill drinks and smash glasses, I watched them wobble on their feet, I listened to little tiffs over who has been drinking MY champagne, etc etc. All stuff no doubt I used to do, ok,  – DID.
I found it all rather amusing. (it’s the little things ok!)

After 3 1/2 hours, I was able to do something I had NEVER EVER DONE BEFORE after a party. I got my car keys and drove home!!  It was very liberating.

So if you find yourself early in sobriety, (or at any stage really as we are always ‘at risk’), I want to share some pre party strategies that I planned in advance to help me.

This could apply to a party at any time of the year, but of course it is particularly poignant at the moment given ‘tis the season to be jolly and party invitations are plentiful. Some of these may or may not be relevant for you, but if you can use them and better still, add some more, great!

Sober Survival at Parties

  • Do lots of dancing to keep occupied
  • Ask other people lots of questions so they get talking about themselves, this takes the pressure off you (people LOVE to talk about themselves given half a chance)
  • I chose to arrive late so there were lots of people and I could ‘blend in’
  • Buy a new outfit (sober treat, you deserve it) so you look and feel your very best
  • I took Lime and Soda as it is the colour of wine so looked fine in a wine glass (this should stop the nosy parkers enquiring WHY you are not drinking)
  • Take a camera and be a self-appointed photographer to ‘keep busy’
  • Have an early exit strategy (eg, got to get home for the babysitter)
  • Pick up a friend on the way so you have the “I’m driving” excuse
  • Tell a good friend that will be there your ‘story’ so that you have a ‘sober ally” and ‘safe person’ to escape to if needed for some light, honest relief
  • Have fun watching everyone make a tit out of themselves
  • Know that you will remember all the gossip you heard (keep confidential of course!)
  • Have faith in the knowledge you will be hangover free the next day
  • Make sure the alcohol you take with you is excellent quality, only 2017 Vintage (paying attention are you?)

I reckon the best strategy of all is to not go to any parties when you are new in sobriety, but if you can’t or won’t say NO, I hope these help. They really helped me.

And, also very important, if you really really don’t want to go for whatever reason, I really encourage you NOT TO. Protect yourself at all cost and DON’T GIVE A MONKEY’S ARSE ABOUT ‘LETTING PEOPLE DOWN.’

Your sobriety is most important!

 

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Scott McAdams

SFYB Staff Writer

The Drama of an Addict

By: Scott McAdams

Drugs are merely a concoction of chemical elements. However, misuse or abuse of drugs invariably alters one’s life for the worse.

One day you’re in the best shape of your life. At this point, life always seems to make perfect sense. You could count on it. You were as clean as a whistle, dancing through life.

Then you indulge in some modest dabbling. Soon, however, you’ve developed a dependency. People close to you can see you’ve changed, but to admit this to yourself would be ego-shattering.

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Self-doubt and paranoia creep in. Addiction is a physical, mental, emotional, and progressive disease. One may feel his employer and associates shun him, and a pink slip feels imminent. Addicted students may drop out.

The addict begins to lose touch with friends and family. It’s no wonder. These people remain on solid footing, clean and sober. They’re fine. They’re still themselves. But the addict is asking them to approve of a drug-soaked stranger.

This reminds me of the classic drug film, “Basketball Diaries,” based on author Jim Carroll’s best-selling autobiography, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Mark Wahlberg .

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Ever see that one? Street drugs graphically sap the strength and sense from two fine players, wrecking their family lives and futures. They, too, got in over their heads.

I’m also reminded of a popular television series. One of the clearer pictures of how addicts distance themselves emotionally from those around them (in this case, due to the continual use of the opiate Vicodin) is masterfully portrayed by Hugh Laurie in “House.”

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“Dr. House” is a walking, teaching hospital. But to operate efficiently he must also consume ungodly amounts of Vicodin for pain from a serious injury.

He risks his best friend’s medical license to supply him with massive doses of Vicodin. They both get caught, of course. Dr. House soaring high as hell, provokes the detective on his drug case with a 3-4 hour wait attached to a glass anal thermometer. House gets sent to detox, naturally, and he lives to save another day.

There’s quite a dark side to this character. His addiction manifests as a cynical, emotionally flattened, detached-from-actually-caring-about-the-patient, childish manner. He berates his staff unmercifully.

Instead of having normal relationships, Dr. House, when not saving untold lives, can often be found passed out on his floor with newly-emptied bottles of Vicodin strewn about.

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He’s brilliant, calculating, insanely clever, and ruthless in his pursuits. No law applies to Dr. House, as he will pay any price to find a cure, save, or improve a life.

His avowed atheism could have something to do with the persistent darkness and unrelenting blues. He illogically replaces faith with science, as they are not mutually exclusive, existing on separate planes. In doing so, he answers only to himself, as his life-saving responsibilities and expanded ego demand ultimate control over all situations. Dangerously extreme and unrealistic. But on stage, this makes for great drama.

Offstage, however, the relentless drama of an addict is exhausting. It’s the kind of drama no one really needs. Not the addict. Not the family and friends of an addict.

Why not make 2015 a drama-free year? Not easy, I know. But doable. Definitely, an investment worth making. You’ll see.

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SFYB Staff Writer

Addiction Treatment How to Start Recovering

By: Beverly Sartain

I can totally relate to addicts. They often look like the walking dead, their external appearance reflecting the shame, disconnect, and desperation they feel inside.

Addiction Treatment How to Start Recovering

Some come off the streets. Others come from upper-middle class homes. No matter where they come from, you see the “deadness” inside them. They all long for reprieve and a place to escape themselves.

Like I said, I can totally relate. I remember how “bottom” feels. I wanted to die. And why not? I was already dead inside. Suicidal thoughts became a running stream in my mind.

There was no joy, no love, no compassion for “me.” I refused to give it to myself. I was undeserving and unworthy. These limiting beliefs were what fed my continued substance use.

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I often wondered where my energy had gone. I was hollow inside. I connected more with emptiness than fullness. I felt like I had fried my system and totally messed myself up.

It’s hard to get better when you hate yourself and only see yourself as bad and wrong. That’s the world I lived in. Victim consciousness was all I knew. My response was to drink more alcohol and do more drugs, even though I knew it only added to my suffering and pain.

That kind of self-loathing runs deep. I understood the desperation of death, of wanting it to be over.

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But giving up isn’t the answer either. I may have looked hopeless on the outside, yet there was a flickering light inside me. It was dim. Really dim. But it was there.

Reconnecting to your flickering life force is transformative. It’s the stuff of recovery work.

But how do you find the energy to do it when you feel dead inside? Surrender is the key. It creates its own process. It begins by letting go of resistance. I had to shift my thinking from “I don’t want to live” to “I do want to live.”

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That one choice gave me all the energy I needed to take the next step. And then the next one. And then the step after that.

Choosing recovery is a commitment to Self. Just as drinking and drugs had zapped my spirit, I became invigorated by the notion of reconnecting with my soul. Wow. That sounds like fun! So I tried it.

Reaching for that fueled me. It sustained me. It gave me the energy I needed to work on me.

And you know what? That’s all it takes to begin.

 

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Beth Burgess

SFYB Staff Writer

Stop “Escaping” and Start “Living” in the New Year

By: Beth Burgess

When I was young, it seemed the only way to have fun was to drink in the local cemetery or to get off on whatever the local dealer happened to have in his bag. The drink or drug didn’t matter. It just had to be strong and allow me to “escape.”

Now that I’m wiser, I see that there’s no need to escape if your life is already fun and fulfilling.

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But, back then, I didn’t know life could be amazing without chemicals. That’s because I didn’t know how to build a great life. And I didn’t know it was up to me to do it. If I had, I never would have turned to the lure of substances to escape.

If that’s where you’re at as we enter this New Year, here are four ways to build a great, chemical-free life. One that’s full of fun and happiness.

Find a Challenge

Sometimes people use alcohol and drugs because they feel life is too boring and flat. Find a way out of boredom by choosing something that challenges you in a fascinating way. That might be running a marathon, mastering a musical instrument, or learning Chinese. Committing to a challenge can be incredibly rewarding. As an added bonus, you’ll become a stronger person with each new challenge you tackle.

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Find Your Friends

I had some good mates back in the drinking days. But they were few and far between. Most of the people I hung out with were only interested in getting smashed. They weren’t the sort of people who had my back. They weren’t interested in “me.” I was just another drug buddy. Real friends are those who genuinely have your best interests at heart and want to see you succeed. Not those happy to watch you waste your life. Only surround yourself with true, nourishing friends. It changes everything.

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Find Your Talents

Everyone’s good at something. And when we’re really good at something, it makes us feel happy and proud of ourselves. It’s a real buzz to do something well and to develop our talents. Whether you’re a great writer, an incredible artist, a comedy genius, or a whiz at making people feel good, find a great way to put your talents to use and see how much better you feel for it.

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Find Your Purpose

It sounds a bit dull and serious, but finding what you’re here for in this life is actually one of the most incredibly fun journeys possible. Imagine finding something that means so much to you that you would do it until eternity and never get bored. That’s your purpose ‒ and it’ll give you more good times than any chemicals.

 

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SFYB Staff Writer

How I Learned to “Serve” Myself

By: Beverly Sartain

As a waitress and bartender, I served other people. They came for food, drink, and entertainment. When the night was done, I wanted the same. I wanted to relax, kick back, and let go.

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Letting go often came in the form of bad habits. I drank and smoked cigarettes. And I reached for harder drugs as the evening wore on. I told myself it was well-deserved.

Much like every area of my life, I gave all I had to numbing out. I was an overachiever. I was certainly going to do the same with my substance use. I hit it hard, and I succeeded.

It was my job to know beer, wines, and liquors. I sold them to others. I encouraged it. Naturally, I needed to know how they tasted, right? So I took being a connoisseur to the next level.

I was at my unhealthiest, while working as a waitress and bartender in college. My days and nights were consumed with drinking and drugging.

How I Learned to "Serve" Myself

It was socially acceptable to be at my worst. After an evening bender, I would join my co-workers for a morning drink at the local restaurant. We met for “breakfast,” but it was all about the drink for me.

My hands would tremble as I lifted a $1.00 Mimosa and Bloody Mary to my dry lips. It was hard to tell if the tremors where from my movement disorder or from DTs.

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Cleary it was DTs. I was fooling myself again.

What started off as a way to support myself through college, transpired into a drinking and drugging career. Not the career I had intended for myself.

The habits formed in my youthfulness became self-created barriers to my inner peace. I was seriously sidetracked. It’s as if I had served my soul to the devil and had to get it back.

How I Learned to "Serve" Myself

How I Learned to “Serve” Myself

One of the best decisions I’ve ever made was to step away from the environment that supported me financially, but left me spiritually bankrupt. No more waiting tables or serving drinks.

I needed to serve myself now. And I have ever since.

 

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T. E. Pepper

SFYB Staff Writer

Using the Principles of Recovery to Face the World Successfully

By: T.E. Pepper

This week I had a minor health scare. Nothing too alarming, but worrisome because I might need surgery, possibly a night in the hospital, a few days of bed rest afterwards, and some physical therapy. Nothing life-threatening, but somewhat serious and a significant disruption in my daily life.

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However, the test they did on me at the hospital yesterday ruled it out, thank goodness. Now I don’t have to worry.

But it scared me for a couple of reasons:

  • I don’t like doctors poking around on me. It’s embarrassing. I feel exposed and vulnerable.
  • I don’t like the idea of being unconscious and cut open with a knife. Even if makes me better.
  • I don’t like losing control.
  • I don’t like trusting someone to do that to me. It’s very troubling.
  • I’m terrified of needing to take prescription pain pills. I know a lot of people in long-term recovery, who took pain pills for an injury (prescribed by their doctor), and they relapsed.

My recovery is about more than abstaining from alcohol. It’s about finding a new way to face the world. I don’t want to hide behind the chemical suppression of my feelings and perceptions. That’s not who I am anymore.

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So I went to the doctor when I felt weird and thought I might have a medical problem. In the past I would have ignored it, hoping it would get better on its own.

Now I take better care of my body. I know hiding from scary stuff won’t get me anywhere. When the doctor ordered a test at another hospital, I could have ignored it and not made that appointment. But I didn’t ignore it. I faced that challenge and went the next day.

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Don’t get me wrong. I was really scared. I was probably more afraid than I should have been, considering it was just minor surgery. Still, it terrified me.

But instead of choosing denial, I chose to be proactive. I talked my girlfriend, my parents, and my AA sponsor. Then I did what needed to be done, even though I was afraid.

I made the choice to “work” my recovery. I put those principles into action by facing difficult challenges and the unknown head-on. Denial is no longer an option for me.

During the worst of my active alcoholism, I was sick and in deep denial about it. I couldn’t contribute to society. I couldn’t even take care of myself. But I managed until the very end to pretend (to myself) I was healthy and useful.

Eventually, I couldn’t keep it up. That flimsy image of myself came crashing down. I finally realized I needed help, rehab, and sobriety. It was time to look at the world through clear eyes.

Today, I try to face difficult situations the same way. I focus on the truth of a situation, and I’m careful not to slip into denial.

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I do what I have to do to reap the results I desire. If the situation is out of my control (like this current medical issue), I recognize that and accept it. I let these people do their job.

Working the principles of my recovery program helps me maintain this focus. I’m able to deal with whatever the world tosses my way. These principles keep me grounded in what’s real and far away from a drink.

That’s how I move through life today. By using those recovery tools, I’m happier and healthier than ever before. It works!

 

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