I Demand Euphoria!

September 14, 2010

Bill Watterson’s modern classic comic about a boy and his tiger, Calvin and Hobbes, has been a favorite of mine since the early days of my sobriety. I discovered Calvin when I still felt unsettled and self conscious about my plight as an alcoholic. The bookstore coffee shop was a safe refuge where I could get out of the house without getting into temptation and burn the dangerous, free time away.

I’ll bet I read every Calvin book they had on the shelf at least three times, I liked them all. From Scientific Progress Goes “Boink” to Homicidal Psycho Jungle Cat; I believe it was here that I learned to laugh again. Not a forced or polite titter, but the soul healing irrepressible laughter that makes you look around to make sure nobody is sizing you up for a straight jacket. However it wasn’t until much later in my recovery that I learned another valuable life-lesson even though it was drawn out for me in those very pages.

“That’s the difference between me and the rest of the world! Happiness isn’t good enough for me! I demand euphoria!” ~Calvin

Now I am sure it is perfectly healthy for a five-year old with a talented stuffed tiger to expect this out of life, but for an addict or an alcoholic it’s just plain dangerous. Why? Well because Calvin would go out and build a transmogrifier and push the limits of his imagination to attain his goals while an addict will instead seek a magic pill and withdraw into his own little fantasy world. I began thinking about this phrase since I read Erin’s post on relapse in which she didn’t so much fall off the wagon as she allowed her thought pattern to slip back into their old routines. I know the feeling, you heard me say it before, it’s thinking like an alcoholic. It’s taking the benadryl because I deserve a “deeper” sleep or leaving a perfectly good job because I am “worth more” even though it means unemployment. Calvin may have been a day dreamer, but just as soon as he could imagine a scenario he would be out in the front yard building it out of snow, getting out the shovel and digging it up, or making it out cardboard boxes.

It’s alright to demand wonderful things from life, but in a healthy recovery you have to be prepared to go out there and make it happen.

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Forget the Wubby, Try Non-Alcoholic Goals

August 23, 2010

Question: Why is goal setting so important in recovery? Answer: One crosses the border into alcoholism when alcohol becomes priority number one. It starts off as just fun, party here, ballgame there. Then it becomes a dating tool or a coping mechanism. Finally it’s having beer instead of morning coffee… lunch break, and midnight snack- […]

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Steven Slater: America Celebrates a Relapse

August 13, 2010

I had every intention of writing about anything other than Steven Slater, but it is impossible to get away from this story in America right now. Cable and network news, talk shows, radio, and blogs- it’s 24/7 take this job and shove it. For a country that is experiencing almost 10% unemployment, it seems odd […]

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Blame JetBlue Snit on Alcohol Withdrawals?

August 10, 2010

A JetBlue employee that berated passengers over the PA system before resigning via the emergency slide has gained national attention. Prosecutors say the JetBlue flight attendant (Steven Slater) flipped out over a fight with an agitated traveler Monday, cursing over the intercom before grabbing some beer from the plane’s galley and making a grand exit […]

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I Do Not Freebase Cocaine

May 4, 2010

I cannot tell you how many times I’ve heard alcoholics and addicts profess their sobriety, swear up and down they’re clean, only to have the truth come out thirty meetings later in group… and the next day they’re back to thirty days sober. Exemplifying the insanity of the disease, the reason why addicts are master […]

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Marijuana: The Bridge Over Recovery… Why?

May 2, 2010

If you thought my parody of a parody Dr. Strangebrew: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Booze was bad enough, then you’ll probably think this post’s skewed use of the classic The Bridge on the River Kwai is cinematic heresy. The 1957 flick came to mind in my recovery meeting during a […]

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Recovery Lessons from Shakespeare and Lynyrd Skynyrd

April 26, 2010

To die is to be a counterfeit, for he is but the counterfeit of a man who hath not the life of a man; but to counterfeit dying, when a man thereby liveth, is to be no counterfeit, but the true and perfect image of life indeed. The better part of valor is discretion, in […]

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Even Sober, the Devil Remains

March 27, 2010

I came to the conclusion a long time ago that all people, at least at some time in their life, experience a mental imbalance or psychotic break. It could be anything from temporary mild depression, a harmless delusion, or something more serious that leads to schizophrenia- but I doubt very few make through life Cleaver […]

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The 10 Fundamental Truths of Recovery from Alcoholism

March 15, 2010

My thanks to author and blogger Patrick Meninga of The Spiritual River for sharing his recovery experience and advice in this most excellent guest post. Anyone who lives and grows in addiction recovery for any great length of time will start to recognize certain truths about the process that seem to be universal. These are […]

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Legalization Proponents Often State Rare Exceptions to the Rule

January 28, 2010

The stories about the miraculous healing properties of marijuana are presented by proponents of its legalization so often that it seems like the ultimate panacea. The rate and ease in which it is prescribed in certain states certainly would suggest that it is the greatest thing since the discovery of penicillin. No longer just for […]

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Get to Work! Early Sobriety No Time to Play

January 20, 2010

A holiday trip attempted in the first year or two of recovery is more likely to turn into a Griswald nightmare than a relaxing break. This is especially true for those still struggling with early sobriety. Now is not the time for a vacation, instead it is time to place (A) nose onto (B) grindstone […]

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Relapse Prevention Requires Reset Button

December 28, 2009

“I don’t know what happened, I just found myself with a drink/pill in my hand.” It’s not so much an excuse as it is a statement… and a lie at that. Trust me, a lot of groundwork went into justifying that drink. Relapse is a process that starts with a return to addictive thinking long […]

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Treating Alcoholism for What It Is – a Chronic Relapsing Disease

November 26, 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. The George Washington University Medical Center has an incredible website, Ensuring Solutions to Alcohol Problems. One of the pieces […]

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Baked, Boiled, or Flambé… It’s Still Alcohol

November 23, 2009

I guess with the drink-oriented, food-centered, and desert-stuffed holidays around the corner it’s a better time than most to address the topic of “eating alcohol”. By this I mean ingesting alcohol through means other than drinking it- such as partaking of the popular desert Bananas Foster or liquor filled chocolates. My sweet examples of alcohol […]

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The Difference between Sobriety and Recovery

July 8, 2009

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

The Harvard Crimson has a review up of Jerzy Pilch’s “The Mighty Angel”, a memoir-like black comedy of alcoholism and addiction.

The modern literary tradition—in particular, the Lost Generation writers and their contemporaries—has done something curious in romanticizing the throes of alcoholism. Hemingway, Faulkner and Fitzgerald were all raging alcoholics and filled their novels with characters who acted likewise. But never before, and rarely today, does a novelist confront addiction so intimately and personally as Jerzy Pilch in his recently translated novel, “The Mighty Angel.”

Honestly, I already have too many books in the queue so this one will not make my list, but the following passage did catch my attention.

“…in my case especially it’s impossible, to live a long and happy life when you drink. But how can you live a long and happy life if you don’t drink?”

Recovery. That is the answer. Some people never figure this one out becoming discouraged and relapsing before they find out that sober is not necessarily a “happy” state. Recovery is the process of learning how to accomplish Pilch’s “long and happy life” without drinking.

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