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Under The Influence

August 24, 2015

Elle King’s follow up to her massive hit Ex’s & Oh’s, Under the Influence is probably about love, but then again a lot of people love alcohol and drugs.  She is the daughter of actor and comedian Rob Schneider, aka Deuce Bigalow, Male Gigolo.

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To Digg, or Not To Digg

August 7, 2014

Digg had several alcohol and addiction related items today in their top 10 most dugg stories. The second most dugg story today was about how PBR is no longer cool (it never was with me) as a nation of hipsters had finally reached peak PBR. Number four an article on how Trader Joes could sell 2$ bottles of wine […]

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Wired – The “Secret of AA”

December 26, 2010

One of my favorite magazines; Wired, featured a lengthy article on Alcoholics Anonymous in its June issue this summer.  Titled “Secret of AA: After 75 Years, We Don’t Know How It Works“,  the piece offers an unbiased look at the organization’s history, backgrounds on it’s founders, and insights into why it works….for some: There’s no doubtthat when […]

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Top 5 AA Meeting Tips for Newcomers

February 5, 2010

I have 15 years of uninterrupted sobriety and yet I still feel out of place sometimes when it comes to going to a new AA meeting. When I think about it though, it’s not the AA meeting itself that is unsettling but instead just the fact that I am sitting down with a complete group […]

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Famous Alcoholics: Two Thumbs Up for Roger Ebert

September 20, 2009

Famous Alcoholics: Two Thumbs Up for Roger Ebert at The Discovering Alcoholic

We seldom agree on movies and almost never on politics and the issues but Roger Ebert and I do have at least one thing in common, we are both recovering alcoholics. Mr. Ebert is celebrating his 30th year in recovery and has done so with a heartfelt commentary on his blog about AA and his recovery. It’s good stuff, so I’ll Roger tell his own story.

Click here to read My Name is Roger, and I’m an alcoholic.

I’m a few weeks late, but congratulations on your recovery milestone and thank you for sharing openly about your own struggle and the value of AA.

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Stevie Ray Vaughan – A Grateful Alcoholic

September 6, 2009

I want thank friend and TDA contributor Screedler for sharing this post of two topics- famous alcoholics and speaker meetings.

Stop! – before reading this post please start playing the video posted above. I want to set the mood, then read on.

Speaker Meetings have always been one of the highlights of AA meetings I have attended in the last 4 years. Every last Friday of the month, my home group devotes its entire meeting to a speaker. This can be anyone that has at least one year of sobriety and has a sponsor. In general, they tell their story of “how I got there (addicted), what it was like, how I got sober, and what it is like now that I am sober”. I have heard talks from people with one year sobriety and some from people with 30 years sobriety. There is always an underlying thread that I can relate to. No matter what our backgrounds we all have experience with the same struggle. Yes, there are some that are so rambling, incoherent or self indulgent that it may be hard to take something positive away from the speech …but even they provide lessons on recovery.

Recently, I stumbled upon a speaker meeting on YouTube that I found very interesting – not so much because of the content, but because of the speaker – Stevie Ray Vaughan. Most people know who he is – a musician who is always listed in the top ten of any list you can find of the best electric guitarists there have ever been. His specialty was the blues, and as an alcoholic and addict I am sure he was well acquainted with his subject matter. In this speaker meeting, he touches on all the points above and laughs and cries in the process.

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Ditto: No Commentary Necessary

August 18, 2009

original pic by mmhydrazinen04 under creative commons license now at The Discovering Alcoholic

Traveling hard this week and with another early morning and difficult meeting on the schedule I feared that tonight’s update would suffer. Never fear though, I ran across one of those rare pieces that I feel absolutely no need to add commentary or to add caveat. It’s plain, sound wisdom from a man who’s been there, done that, and discovered the key to recovery; don’t drink, regardless of how you manage it or what program you attend, just don’t drink.

Most of us were staying dry — getting sober — and getting “well”. That method of friend selection continued into my entry into the field and there I found many recovered folks that had a broader perspective on recovery. I think that we naturally gravitated toward one another and developed a more comfortable support system– no “musts” or insistence on anything, except “don’t take a drink”. ~ Examiner.com

Read the entire Profile of a recovering alcoholic at the Examiner.com by Angeline Davis.

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Anonymity Not Mandatory

July 26, 2009

original pic by Anonymous9000 under creative commons license now at The Discovering Alcoholic

There seems to be a little bit of confusion not only with the general public but also in the blogosphere that everyone in recovery should try their best to remain anonymous. I know that much of this has to do with misconception that if one is in recovery, it must have been accomplished through a 12 step program like AA. I’ve even had someone try to make the point that I should not voice my opinion in a political/issues debate because of the twelfth tradition.

I don’t know if you are an alcoholic, but I assume you at least have a close association with alcoholism and its treatment. Do us all a favor, foocus [sic] on your recovery and the 12 traditions – stay out of political debate. ~ Idiot Stoner #124,769

Personally, I think the world could do with a little less addiction anonymity and a whole lot more recognition of those in a successful recovery. It not only reduces the stigma by providing role model examples of those in recovery as responsible and productive members of society, but also encourages others not to be embarrassed to seek help. More than anything it can foster hope to those suffering from addiction and their families that have given up hope.

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The TDA Abbreviated 12 Step Program for the Spiritually Challenged

May 25, 2009

Step 1 – Admitted we were powerless over our addiction – that our lives had become unmanageable

Step 2 – Admitted, said out loud, and meant, to ourselves and to many others our nature and the warped reality of our existence

Step 3 – Decided to act upon this predicament and stay sober at all costs, getting professional help when necessary

Step 4 – Made a deeply introspective list of all things stressful, worrisome, embarrassing, or pending that required action so that recovery becomes a priority

Step 5 – Made daily and measurable progress on correcting items on this list, also identifying those items which were honestly beyond our power to change

Step 6 – Reflect, refine, and repeat

Do I have a problem with the 12 Steps? Absolutely not. Did I have a problem with the 12 Steps? You betcha! While still drinking and in even in early recovery I concentrated on the reasons why the steps would not work for me, the religious aspect, the spiritual aspect, and the many logic traps I spent hours/days creating. I still worked all the steps diligently, yet deep in my heart lacked faith in many of the steps.

Over time it has become obvious to me that the 12 Steps have two purposes, one is to help people quit drinking and the other is to learn again how to live without drinking. The latter can not happen before the first, and I think this is the cause of many abandoning their program in frustration.

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Denial – The Big Bad and Ugly of It!

May 24, 2009

Promoted to the front page from the user blogs, you can click here to find past blogs by Toby12321. Denial, along with lying and selfishness, is part of the unholy trinity of alcoholism. Not only in just drinking, denial about our actions and true self can persist for many years in recovery and can be difficult to distinguish from the truth. Thanks for sharing Toby!

Original pic by Dan4th under creative commons attribution license now at The Discovering AlcoholicI just finished watching the TV Program “Intervention”. It is amazing how I see myself in their situation. Denial is the big one. I never had a problem with drinking. Everyone else had a problem minding their own business, I thought.

My mother, whose father was an alcoholic and died of cirrhosis of the liver, was constantly trying to get me help. I hated it. She is gone now; she died of cancer in 1992. I had been sober for 2 1/2 years when she passed.

My mother tried repeatedly to get me help. She was always nagging me and would get on my nerves. I finally agreed one Sunday to go to a rehab. My father and mother took me. It was an old hotel here in PA. We arrived and went to the office. They told me to let my bags and go to the meeting being held down the way. This was my first ever experience with AA. I stood in the back of the room. It was packed with a few hundred people. The main speaker kept telling these stories that just seemed impossible to believe. I’m thinking what a jerk. I can’t believe these people even believe some of the things he was telling us. He was talking more bull than a bar full of drunks during hunting season.

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Big Book Birthday

April 21, 2009

Big Book Birthday at The Discovering Alcoholic The famous blue “Big Book” of Alcoholics Anonymous turns 70 this month and will probably pass the mark of 30 million copies sold later this year.

In addition to discovering that the first edition copies were actually red, with a little research I found out that books from the original first printing of 5000 are going anywhere from $4,000 to $40,000 depending on the condition. One of the rarest copies is kept in a safe by the Alcoholics Anonymous archivist in Akron, OH; it is actually signed by both founder and author Bill W. and co-founder Dr. Bob and rests along side the original manuscript.

The forward of the first edition printing reads:

”We, of Alcoholics Anonymous, are more than one hundred men and women who have recovered from a seemingly hopeless state of mind and body. To show other alcoholics precisely how we have recovered is the main purpose of this book.”

I wonder if Bill W. and Dr. Bob had any idea from those original one hundred men and women AA would grow into an international organization with over 2 million members and that the Big Book would become one of the most influential books of the 20th century? Now that’s a big 12th step!

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Alcoholics Anonymous Meeting Etiquette Hints

April 13, 2009

Original pic by ciagnut under creative commons license now at The Discovering Alcoholic

Hint #72: In order to facilitate recovery (and life), one should refrain from robbing others at the meeting.

A robber who walked into the Columbia downtown Alcoholics Anonymous center, pulled out a gun and demanded money was killed in a burst of gunfire from an AA visitor’s gun, police said. “Gimme what you got,” witnesses quoted the robber as saying when he entered the AA building at 2015 College St. in Five Points about 10:48 p.m. Saturday. They said he brandished a .25-caliber handgun. At that point, as one AA visitor dropped something on the floor — possibly his wallet — another AA visitor pulled out his own pistol and shot the robber “multiple times,” police said. ~ Charlotte Observer

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Helping the Alcoholic in Recovery

April 5, 2009

Thank you author and speaker Lisa Frederiksen of Breaking the Cycles for this regular series sharing her decades long experience of dealing with family alcoholism and alcohol abuse. Click here to see the rest of the series.

Breaking the Cycles at The Discovering Alcoholic

Often when an alcoholic begins recovery (whether that be entering a treatment program, attending AA meetings, engaging in therapy or …), the tendency is for the family members to carry on in their role of “helping.” Instead of helping our loved one control their drinking, we’re now going to help them avoid a slip or a relapse or avoid our worst nightmare, their giving up on treatment all together. And, so we dig in with the same will and determination to make sure they do their recovery “right” and start in with efforts such as, “Did you go to a meeting, today?” “Shouldn’t you call your sponsor?” “I thought you were going to do your 4th step this week-end.”

All of these questions are meant with the best of intention, but just as the nagging, shaming and manipulations did not work to “help” them stop or control their drinking, neither will our nagging, shaming and manipulations work to “help” them recover. Why?
Because the alcoholic’s brain has been chemically and structurally altered by their alcohol abuse; thus removing the alcohol means their brains have to “re-wire.” What do I mean? The human brain consists of billions of brain cells that “talk” to one another via neurotransmitters and synapses. Those that “fire together, wire together” — they form connections, a brain map of sorts, for a particular activity. These connections (brain maps) control every aspect of our bodies and what we do with them — some are conscious, like making a concerted effort to learn a new language, and some just happen, we don’t know how or why.

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Low Man on the Totem Pole?

March 29, 2009

Original Pic by Steph and Adam now at The Discovering Alcoholic

Recently a reader asked my take on higher power and spirituality; specifically whether or not I believed that the acceptance of and submission to a Power greater than myself is what distinguishes between “sane” sobriety, and just a “dry drunk.”

I can’t say that my thoughts on higher power and spirituality are set in stone nor do I think I would ever want them to be, but do agree that these two terms are for the most part prerequisites for long term recovery. In fact, rarely do I see many that disagree except for those that are more concerned about religious (or anti) dogma or narrow semantics.

Maybe the best way to follow my thoughts on the subject is to understand that I do not necessarily equate higher power with religion. Not saying that I always don’t, just that it is not necessary to for my recovery purposes. I have found that there are only parts of life that I can affect, the rest will gone spinning with the world regardless of my action or inaction. There was a time when I wanted the world to change, to facilitate my sobriety, well that obviously didn’t happen. Before any deity be it ambivalent, benevolent, or down right evil- there are plenty of other “powers” greater than myself- gravity, time, and yes, even people/groups and organizations. I am low man on the totem pole and it is useless to deny this fact, so instead I concentrate on those things I do have control over (myself/free will).

Funny thing about totem poles though…

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The New Brew

February 11, 2009

Original pic by Marco Arment now at The Discovering AlcoholicThere’s no gentle way to say it, I am a coffee slut. I’m just as likely to down a quick and dirty instant coffee as I am to patiently savor a cup made from finely burr ground, fresh roasted beans brewed from bottled water.

My preferences are old school; hot coffee, black. I learned to drink it this way in the military not because it tasted good, far from it! I drank the coffee scooped out of ten gallon pots of unfiltered grounds and steaming water because it kept me warm. Years later I reinforced this acquired taste sipping an equally hairy brew from a Styrofoam cup (always with a chewed-up brim) poured from an aged AA urn. Once again, I wasn’t drinking it for the taste.

These days though I truly do enjoy my coffee. I almost always try to take a break at the local coffee shops (non-SB) during my business travel and enjoy a hot cup or espresso while catching up my e-mail. On the weekends I take the time to grind my own and make a special cup usually with my favorite brand Peet’s Coffee (this month I’m into Sumatra Blue Batak). This weekend will be even more special since I expect my new Yama-5 vacuum brewer will be waiting on me when I return from Nashville. While this brewing method is new to me it’s been around since the 1800’s. I’ve been told that (see how it works) no modern coffee maker can compete when it comes to producing a quality cup of coffee.

I’ve had those not in the know tell me my coffee habit could be compared to alcoholism (trading one addiction for another)- that’s rubbish, but I’ll take a gander at the checklist just to see. Old brew: Deceit, check. Unemployment, check. Selfishness, check. New brew. Honesty, productivity, and selflessness (trying)- no comparisons here! So drop by next week and I fill you and your mug in on how my Yama-5 performed.

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