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Old 08-20-2012, 08:41 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Serenity in Recovery How?

Hi all,

I have been at this recovery thing for two years now. I have had clean times of 7 months, 6 months, and 7 months. No matter what I always go back to the rooms each time I slip, I don't let myself fall. However, for some reason I just am not "getting it." I have a sponsor, have worked the steps (i realize i need to continue working them), and have made progress. However, each time I get some time under my belt I rest on my laurels and forget to put first things first. I'm tired of being in and out, and I'm tired of the daily struggle. I think that's the hardest thing for me, I hate that it's a daily struggle for me from the moment I wake until the moment my head hits the pillow. I have a massive support circle (sponsor, friends in the program, sponsor) I just am having a hard time believing that I can have a happy life being an addict in recovery. I hate the label, and I hate that it takes daily maintenance. It's exhausting to battle to do the right thing every day. Any ideas on how to make things a little softer or do things in such a way where I keep them simpler? I am not happy just not using, I want to be happy in recovery. Please don't take this paragraph as I haven't accepted my addiction, because I have. In fact, I am just coming off on injury and threw the rest of my pills down the toilet because I don't want them in the house. I didn't get clean to go to meetings and just hang with people in the program. I think life everything in life, you have to have balance. Sincerely, struggling.
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Old 08-20-2012, 08:51 AM   #2 (permalink)
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OK sounds like you know what you did wrong.

You have a sponsor, you worked the steps, and you've made progress. (You didn't mention meetings here?) Then you "rest on your laurels and forget to put first things first".

Part of the issue, as I see it, is that you need to deal with acceptance. You have a disease. You need to take daily treatment. "God grant me the Serenity to accept the things I can not change". Like a diabetic, we have a simple choice, accept our treatment ... or die. Very simple. The great thing is that once this is accepted, things get a whole lot easier.

I urge you read this: Key to Serenity - Acceptance Is the Key to Serenity

It might help.

Give over what you can't change and change what you can. Simple
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Old 08-20-2012, 08:55 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I'm sorry you feel like you have to do battle to do the right thing every day. Yes, recovery does take daily maintenance,I believe. I'm not an AA person, but I work at my recovery every day. However, for me, it's a labor of love and I can't imagine living any other way.

I can tell you what works for me and that's keeping balance in my life. Recovery is always incorporated, but I do things I enjoy every day. I walk a lot, which I love so much. I read a lot and enjoy quiet time with a book. I spend time with family and people I love.

You say you're not happy just not using, so what would make you happy. Look within, and figure out where you want to be, what do you want to do with your life. Get involved in things that you enjoy - take a course, volunteer, pick up a sport, whatever makes you feel happy.
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Old 08-20-2012, 09:00 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Cascade, I rejected that idea too, of a lifetime of recovering. The idea of staying sober for only a day at a time would lead me to the same conclusion as you - struggling each day to only repeat it again tomorrow is simply not acceptable. A lifetime of meetings is better than a lifetime of addiction, but is not the way I choose to live.

You will be told to 'work the steps' as that is 'How it works', and that you haven't had your spiritual awakening. You will be told that AA is not meetings but the daily act of turning your will and your life over to God, asking Him for guidance and strength. God, as you understand Him, of course.

These ideas come with high recommendation, and if you have decided that your sobriety lies within 'the rooms of AA', then you'd best get on with it. There are options to AA, however, and you get to make the choice. Maybe the 12 Step model just isn't right for you. I wish you the best, Cascade.
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Old 08-20-2012, 09:23 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Serenity isn't the state of things being perfect - things are never really perfect, but you can modify the way you deal with them, and you learn that in treatment and in a program, knowing how to reset your boundaries, what you can and can't control in your life etc and being able to accept that rather than struggle against it.

I think as a habitual addict, in recovery I continued to think with a typical addict mentality - I still consciously or subconsciously looked for the reason to use/drink again. Any small thing, no matter how trivial.

Acceptance is more than an intellectual awareness I think, it is also profoundly emotional, psychological, spiritual if that's the way you believe.

You are right, life can't be just all recovery but really, my life is fuller these days because I am abstinent. It took time to get there and learn to appreciate it, because it's not the full instanteous gratification I once sought but where did that get me? It always wore off and I needed more all the time to sustain it, while my life fell apart around me.

Things can be very up and down in the first year of recovery, I hit a few 'walls' where I felt stuck and getting nowhere but luckily I had the support to get through those patches and really, those were times that led to some breakthroughs and growth, even though it felt like nothing was really happening at the time.

Addicts tend to want results quickly and that's no different in recovery, but recovery is in the long term more meaningful and rewarding.
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Old 08-20-2012, 10:17 AM   #6 (permalink)
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And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing or situation - some fact of my life - unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment. Nothing, absolutely nothing happens in God's world by mistake. Until I could accept my alcoholism, I could not stay sober; unless I can accept life completely on life's terms, I cannot be happy. I need to concentrate not so much on what needs to be changed in the world as on what needs to be changed in me and in my attitudes.


It is easy to let up on the spiritual program of action and rest on our laurels. We are headed for trouble if we do, for alcohol is a subtle foe. We are not cured of alcoholism. What we really have is a daily reprieve contingent on the maintenance of our spiritual condition. Every day is a day when we must carry the vision of God's will into all of our activities. "How can I best serve Thee - Thy will (not mine) be done." These are thoughts which must go with us constantly. We can exercise our will power along this line all we wish. It is the proper use of the will.


rest on our laruels- to rely on past achievements instead of working to maintain and achieve ones spiritual( in this sense) life.

it is important that a sponsor take a sponsee through the BB so the sponsee gets a complete understanding of the steps, which arent just gone through once, which the 12th step say" practice these principles in all our affairs, which it is rather important to know and understand the principles behind each step, which is the 12 steps in its simplest form. so what i'm gettin a: has your sponsor taken you through the BB? has your sponsor been havin you put pen to paper?

one thing i was very good at( and still can be) is making mountains out of molehills in my life. i had to stop being the director and actually put into action the advise of others to make my life simple, and just how simple life really is was the hardest lesson for me to learn( and now remember).
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Old 08-20-2012, 11:02 AM   #7 (permalink)
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cascade, you know where it says in How IT Works "We stood at the turning point"... I have stood there many times over the years.
Don't quit just before the miracle happens.

What does your sponsor say about your struggle ??... When I was 2 yrs sober I was still quite suicidal.

If you have a good support system in your group I suggest you talk to them. They know you.

The balance will come. To get it I needed 2 things. Willingness and Ability to work the Steps.

All the best.

Bob R
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Old 08-20-2012, 11:39 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cascade View Post
Hi all,

I have been at this recovery thing for two years now. I have had clean times of 7 months, 6 months, and 7 months. No matter what I always go back to the rooms each time I slip, I don't let myself fall. However, for some reason I just am not "getting it." I have a sponsor, have worked the steps (i realize i need to continue working them), and have made progress. However, each time I get some time under my belt I rest on my laurels and forget to put first things first. I'm tired of being in and out, and I'm tired of the daily struggle. I think that's the hardest thing for me, I hate that it's a daily struggle for me from the moment I wake until the moment my head hits the pillow. I have a massive support circle (sponsor, friends in the program, sponsor) I just am having a hard time believing that I can have a happy life being an addict in recovery. I hate the label, and I hate that it takes daily maintenance. It's exhausting to battle to do the right thing every day. Any ideas on how to make things a little softer or do things in such a way where I keep them simpler? I am not happy just not using, I want to be happy in recovery. Please don't take this paragraph as I haven't accepted my addiction, because I have. In fact, I am just coming off on injury and threw the rest of my pills down the toilet because I don't want them in the house. I didn't get clean to go to meetings and just hang with people in the program. I think life everything in life, you have to have balance. Sincerely, struggling.
I found that once I started to make the program about what I could give rather than what I could get life got a lot more exciting. 12th step work is what keeps me excited about life. Sitting across the table from a newcomer and reading out of the book is truly an amazing experience. Sitting outside a meeting and talking to a brand new drunk who still stinks of booze and is beginning to grasp the concept of the 1st step is like nothing else.
There are certain moments of my life when I can clearly see that I have been used by God as an instrument to help another. Those are the moments i live for.
You say you worked the steps. Maybe it was 12th step work that was lacking? After all, we must give it away to keep it. A cliche, but so true.

Wish you the best. I hope you stick with it.
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A man can no more diminish God's glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word, 'darkness' on the walls of his cell.
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Old 08-20-2012, 11:52 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Cascade, I'm 2 years 1 month sober and ain't got a clue what serenity is. Probably has to do with my expectations of what being sober is supposed to be or something like that. Serenity, no serenity, what I do know is I'm a lot better off by not using.
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Old 08-20-2012, 12:04 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Recovery is a journey to be the best I
can in life. To not repeat many of the
old habits that would ultimately lead
me to a drink of poison. To remember
that no matter how bad things get,
drinking will only make it worse.

I began recovery with 2 small kids and
already 8 yrs married. Wife, mother,
recovery, i had my plate full. On top
of that I was restless, irritable and
discontent pretty much the whole time.

However, i continued to apply the tools
and knowledge I had learned with a program
of recovery to guide me and strengthen me
each step of the way.

Serenity comes to me when Im alone
enjoying all the gifts and beauty this
world has for me to enjoy. To stop struggling
and be appreciative, humble and grateful
for all that I have, especially each sober
breath I take when i awake each morning.

Serenity come when I know that I am never
alone in my worries and struggles in life and
recovery. That someone out there has an
answer to help me just by them sharing their
own experiences, strengths and hopes they
used for themselves.

Serenity comes from getting out of my own
selfseeking motives or thoughts and offering
help to someone else with kindness and without
selfishness. To be honest in my answers and
jestures as well as myself.

We are told to have fun in sobriety and recovery
in which it is okay to do so. It does take time,
as recovery is a life long journey of changes in
which we can enjoy and appreciate.

I try to not take too many things seriously and
find humor and lightness in this ever changing
world around us. The sun will come out, flowers
will bloom, winds will blow and quiet time to
sit and admire it all.

What awesome gifts for us to enjoy in sobriety.
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Old 08-20-2012, 12:21 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Serenity- not freedom from the storm, but calm in the midst of the storm.
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A man can no more diminish God's glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word, 'darkness' on the walls of his cell.
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Old 08-20-2012, 01:18 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Hey, don't be so hard on yourself. You've got nice stretches of time and you're working hard! Imagine how 'serene' your life would be if you were using....

For me it took the hp to get a bit of decent peace and the courage to handle life sober. It took me years to figure out that this was what I needed. Everyone's experience is different, though.

Hang in there and be kind to yourself
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Old 08-20-2012, 01:31 PM   #13 (permalink)
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I wonder if AA is not the program for you? Have you checked into some other options like SMART recovery, Lifering or Rational Recovery? Maybe you could use some psychotherapy to figure out what you really want out of life and what would really make you happy?
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Old 08-20-2012, 02:11 PM   #14 (permalink)
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The daily practice of gratitude opened up a new way of seeing the world for me. It takes 30 days to start to kick in and the effect is subtle at first and grows over time. I highly recommend it.
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Old 08-20-2012, 02:17 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Daily prayer and meditation, in addition to all the things suggested in the program...I found after being a chronic six month relapser for years was I didn't REALLY turn my life over to God and I still wasn't REALLY listening to people in the program who knew what they were talking about. My intentions were good but I wasn't "getting it."

"Sermon On the Mount" by Emmet Fox was huge in my recovery and finding some peace in my life, getting the right concept of God and learning to rely on God.
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Old 08-20-2012, 02:19 PM   #16 (permalink)
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What’s the goal?

If your goal is to “be happy” then you may have a problem, at least I did. When I struggled to “be happy” life was, well, all about me lol, and THAT was a problem. It was a problem of focus. I was constantly focused on myself and how I felt.

Of course if a person feels miserable they will naturally try their best to feel better. A problem can develop when an individual’s misery becomes an obsession and the goal of feeling better becomes a preoccupation. It’s almost like the struggle to feel better contributes to feeling bad... which increases the struggle to feel better etc.

It’s like Chinese handcuffs. Remember those tubes of straw that you would sometimes be handed at a carnival? You put a finger from one hand in one end and a finger from the other hand in the other end. When you attempt to pull a finger out, the woven straw tube clamps down on both fingers making it impossible to remove them from the tube. The answer is to do the opposite of what seems correct. You need to push your fingers together before you can find a way to pull them out of the tube.

It was the same for me with the goal of “feeling good”. I needed to give up this goal in order to get off the merry-go-round and get on with life. For me, the answer was in attempting to live a “principled existence”. I need to do what is right, regardless of the consequences for me personally (this is often the opposite of what my instincts tell me to do). The best method I have found is to help someone anonymously, to find a situation where even a "thank you" is not possible. It helps takes my focus off myself.

My life is now more about finding meaning. "Feeling good" is a much less important by- product.

Good luck with the handcuffs.
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Old 08-20-2012, 02:37 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Cascade, I rejected that idea too, of a lifetime of recovering. The idea of staying sober for only a day at a time would lead me to the same conclusion as you - struggling each day to only repeat it again tomorrow is simply not acceptable. A lifetime of meetings is better than a lifetime of addiction, but is not the way I choose to live.
In all fairness to AA...I wouldn't put up with struggling each day either...Because it's not a struggle for me...Nor I doubt it is for the millions who have recovered in AA. I totally understand it is not for everyone....But I have to clarify the struggle idea....Because I enjoy my sobriety that much.
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Old 08-20-2012, 02:41 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Recovery is not an end in itself. It is a bridge to what matters to you.

What matters to you? Animals? Politics? Children? Religion? Pottery? Literature? Without something to stay clean and sober for, recovery can be just a dry exorcise.
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Old 08-20-2012, 04:56 PM   #19 (permalink)
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"Sermon On the Mount" by Emmet Fox was huge in my recovery and finding some peace in my life, getting the right concept of God and learning to rely on God.
Love this book....A must read for all AAers. And like the Big Book...Every time you read it you get something new.
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Old 08-20-2012, 06:28 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Join Date: Nov 2011
Posts: 29
I appreciate everyone's suggestions on this thread, they were all helpful in their own way. That being said I went to a meeting today and shared what I shared with you all today. You wouldn't believe the resounding "that's my exact experience," or "man i'm glad you said that" today. I did get one...I should kick your butt, but that's ok...the person was entitled to their opinion. At any rate, someone pointed me towards "The Road Less Traveled" as a means to connect with something larger than myself and quit being so selfish in my recovery (along with helping others). I think that's what's been lacking all along, struggling with the concept of a HP. And to the person who asked me what my sponsor said, "he said I (me) think too much." He told me he would never give up on me. freshstart57, and ZiggyB...Yes, I have read up on SMART Recovery, and others...and I'm not sure it's about what program you choose...I think it's simply sticking with something. In my readings I have found that most programs preach the same universal truths, they are just applied slightly differently. At any rate, tomorrow is a new day, I intend to pickup The Road Less Traveled and see what I can append to my program. Can't hurt. I don't think there is one right way to do things, ask 50 people in a room how their program operates, your gonna get 50 different answers. I just need to find what works for me. I'm definitely finding our what doesn't work...maybe that's what it takes for me personally.
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