1-A week from Thursday, 9/19 I’ll be heading into NY City to attend a seminar being
given by Dr. Stanton Peele, titled; “What will replace the 12 steps?” For those of you
unfamiliar with Dr. Peele, he is truly the pioneer of the view that alcoholism is not a
disease and was one of the first voices to be critical of 12 step “recovery” methods. He
is a psychiatrist, psychotherapist, lawyer and author of 9 books. I have to admit that I
haven’t read any of his books yet (remedying that as I speak) but I have read articles
about him and am a fan. I’ll be posting my take on said meeting shortly after attending.
2-On November 2nd, I will be interviewed by SMART Recovery on my ideas about recovery
and “The Freedom to Recover”. It’s an on-line thing and you have to register on their website
www.smartrecovery.org if you want to check it out. I’ll mention it again with more details as
we get closer to kickoff.
Ok, reconnecting with the world after putting the bottle down.
First and foremost……..GET OUT OF THE HOUSE!!!!!!!!!!!!!
As I mentioned in my previous blog, on-line support and keeping abreast of things that way is
OK, but it shouldn’t be a replacement from BEING a part of the world.
I’ve written quite a bit about my pre-sober life both here on my blog and in the book but not so
much about what happened after I made “the decision” in terms of my chronology. That’ll be
the next post. Just a few observations on that though. After I left Maine and got to NY, I knew
that there were some priorities that I needed to address to make the decision stick.
1-Getting a job to fulfill my obligations to my ex-wife and children and so that I could get my own place quickly and not burden my family that was nice enough to take me in when I had no place else to
go. Mercifully, I found, what at the time seemed like a fantastic opportunity in the promotional products industry as an account executive (An industry with which I had a lot of experience). So that worked out better than I could have hoped and I was able to move into great townhouse after just a few months.
2-I HAD TO GET OUT OF MY ISOLATION MODE!
That is one of the most important things for anybody to do when they lose their
best friend (alcohol/drugs). Soon after I moved, the local fire department was
having a “volunteer” recruitment drive. I had absolutely no intention of
becoming a firefighter but somebody grabbed me as I was walking by and pulled me
in. I figured, “why not”, outside of work, I have all the free time in the world
and this is exactly the kind of thing I NEED to do. As it turned out, my tenure
there lasted only about a year because I apparently have a pretty severe case of
claustrophobia. I always knew it was there to a degree but it wasn’t until I put
on one of those air tanks with my face completely sealed in, until I knew just
how bad it was. They tried to talk me into staying and becoming an EMT but I
didn’t think that I was blood and guts material. Anyway, I made a lot of
acquaintances, but this is VERY important, not so many friends. I had to really
take a good hard look at myself to figure out why that was. It really wasn’t
brain surgery when it came right down to it. While I was friendly towards
everybody and vice-versa, our chatter never really went beyond the usual,
sports, the weather, etc…. I never really tried to get to KNOW anybody there
beyond the usual superficial stuff. As a result, nobody really tried to do the
same towards me. As the new guy, it was up to ME to try and find out more about
the guys. I’ve mentioned it before, but in order to be interesting yourself and
have other people care about, be interested in, and LIKE you; then you have to
take the initiative and do the same first. Here’s the kicker;……your interest has
to be genuine!
Look, I hate small talk as much as the next guy (some people actually thrive on it) and I hate
cocktail hour conversations that have no substance. But you have to have those kinds of
“meaningless” conversations in order to get to know a little bit about someone’s likes and interests.
Once you get to know them even a little bit, you can start trying to have more in depth and
So no matter what you do in terms of trying to meet new people; whether it be to join a club,
volunteer, sports, health club, go back to school, WHATEVER, If you don’t do what I mentioned
above, …..then, you may make some acquaintances (And that is clearly better than nothing and
being alone all the time) but you won’t make any lasting connections!
Part of my take on existentialism is that I don’t necessarily agree with its fundamental belief-“That
the world is basically meaningless and it’s up to you to create meaning in it all” I agree with the
part where you have to create meaning but I don’t believe that the world is meaningless. I believe,
that we are here to learn from each other, help each other, help one another evolve and become as enlightened as we can. You can’t do that ALONE and if you don’t CARE about anybody but yourself. It’s
not an easy thing for a lot of us but it is, in my opinion anyway, what makes the world and by extension…..ourselves…..go around in an authentic, joyful and meaningful way!
Peace out for now!