Recovering vs Recovered

     Not sure why, but folks in AA look at me like I’m evil when I say I’m a recovered alcoholic. This is especially fascinating considering the title page of Alcoholics Anonymous clearly states, The Story of How Many Thousands of Men and Women Have RECOVERED From Alcoholism (caps used for emphasis – yes, pun intended).

     If we are “recovering” or “in recovery”, then we have achieved physical sobriety but continue to struggle. We are restless, irritable and discontent. We still want to drink. We fight to stay sober and get through each day. Terms like dry drunk and white knuckling it are reserved for those who are merely recovering.

     Why does this sound harsh and why make a fuss about the distinction?

     Because being in recovery is not the solution that AA prescribes. AA makes no mention that its program in intended to leave an individual suffering, craving, fighting and utterly miserable. And what sucks is that people commonly think that any alcoholic or addict who gets clean is always on the edge of relapse for the rest of their shitty, selfish lives.

     The truth is that AA is a rigorous program of action that brings a sober alcoholic or addict from “recovering” to “recovered”. Recovered is what we can achieve once we become willing to go to any lengths to get better, once we fearlessly embark on the Twelve Step actions laid out in the AA text book (The Big Book). When we have this spiritual experience and a psychic change occurs, our once broken minds become fixed and we are sane again. We no longer suffer from any obsession to drink or use drugs. We are no longer out of control emotionally. We no longer whine and complain and suck others dry. We no longer fight and struggle through every second of the day. In fact, a natural urge to repel drugs and alcohol lives in us and becomes stronger and stronger with each spiritual action we take.

     When we become recovered, people no longer see us as alcoholics. While in recovery, we still act like children and remain enslaved by our self-centered frame of mind. Recovered, we act like adults who can tend to the needs of others.

     Drinking doesn’t have to be a problem for alcoholics, nor drugs for addicts. Life, work, emotions and relationships don’t have to be a problem. If they are for anyone out there, then there is something wrong or missing in your program. I’m not trying to be a dick, I’m just saying that it blows my mind that there are so many thousands of men and women in AA who are fighting desperately to stay sober, when AA is, in fact, The Story of How Many Thousands of Men and Women Have Recovered From Alcoholism.

     The solution is sitting right there for any of us lazy knuckleheads to harness and run with. We just have to open the book and do the work.

God, please show me what Your will for me is, and please give me the power to carry it out…

God Brass

     If alcoholics and addicts have the capacity to be honest with themselves, they have the seed of God within. And because a seed that is nourished can grow forever, there is no limit to our spiritual growth. There is no limit to how much we can change and heal and thrive and give back. We must simply find the willingness to turn our inner seed into a fountain of strength.

     For willingness, we pray. Two of my favorites are ‘God, make me a better man today‘ & ‘God, bring the opportunity to help someone.’ I have no idea if the first one ever comes true. But the second one always does. There are always people to help.
     I’d like to think that the seed of God is in all of us. Someone once likened this seed to a ball of brass. Perhaps it is dull, worn, small, and has lost its glow. Yet when we polish it and shed the layers of resentment, fear, selfishness and dishonesty, gradually it becomes brighter and brighter. It begins to glow once again. It begins to grow. Our conscience expands, and we become acutely aware of what is right and what is wrong. So my job is to make sure I continue to polish my God brass on a regular basis so that it never becomes dull or loses its shine. 

God, help me to grow spiritually, that my God brass may shine within…

Sex Inventory

(Also see Resentment, Resentment Inventory, Resentment Inventory Example & Fear Inventory.)

Sex inventory…

The instructions are: a) write who I’ve hurt, b) write who ELSE I’ve hurt, c) write what happened, and d) write what I should have doneinstead.

Here’s an example:

1st Column – Who?
College girl   
2nd Column – Who else? 
Her husband 
3rd Column – What happened? 
Slept with her knowing she was married, and pretended I cared about her.  
4th Column – What should I have done instead?
Left her alone. At the very least I should have masturbated rather than destroy someone’s marriage.
As a conscienceless addict, I filled my emptiness by manipulating women and using them for sex. I used a foreign girl in college fully aware that she was married. I used my gifts to manipulate her, taking her into piano rooms on campus and playing Chopin while I stared into her eyes. From piano recitals to piano room seductions… this is what I became. I acted like I cared about women just to have sex with them, and then I got as far away as possible. I showed little or no remorse at all. And when I showed it, I never really felt it inside. Yes, I knew it was wrong, but satisfying lust was far more important. That’s the sort of behavior that must cease forever if I plan on staying sober.

God, please help my conscience to grow and grow, and give me the power and the willingness to never ignore it…


     When we engage in projection, we are in a state of delusion. Projection is when we transfer or “project” our own defects onto someone else. We accuse others of the very qualities, behaviors and attitudes that we own ourselves. So when I’m screaming at someone, or judging them, or calling them names, or ripping them apart from every angle, I should be screaming in a mirror because I’m really just talking about myself. I tend to think that when we lash out angrily at others, most of what we say is projection. Addicts, narcissists and crazy people who are incapable of assuming any responsibility for their words, thoughts and actions engage in pathological projection. I suppose it’s a defense mechanism born of too much pride, shame, self-hatred and immaturity.
     We who project are like children who never grew up. We become ever more damaged and now live in a deluded world of our own, broken from reality and shattered to the core. I know a few crazies like this, and let me say that now I know how annoying and pathetic I once was. When my son was born, I became the object of someone’s projection, and I thanked God that though I became an alcoholic, I didn’t become damaged beyond repair. I never lost the capacity to be honest with myself, which, along with willingness, is the one requirement to getting better. But if I had become this damaged, my entire life would have become a joke. It would have become a waste of air, water and other precious natural resources. I would have gone through my entire life hurting others with no shame, no remorse, no accountability…

     So to my fellow addicts out there still abusing people at will, take the advice one of my guides so kindly imparted to me long ago:

     Grow up.

God, please remove my defects of character, and replace them with love…

God Proof

     In the 2nd Step, we are asked to believe in a power outside of ourselves, one that is capable of fixing us – GOD. Boy, what a loaded word that is. But God is just a three-letter word meant to convey an idea, like any other word. The problem is when we mention God, all sorts of man-made concepts and belief systems invade our consciousness, not to mention traumatic personal experiences with religious fundamentalism, or religiously justified domestic abuse, or even (gulp) ethnic cleansing. But codes, creeds, rituals, churches, pipe organs, Sunday school, and a big throne with a Caucasian, bearded man sitting there with his rod and staff are all just man-made social constructs.

     Who are we to know what God is and what he looks like? And why is God in a building on Sunday morning but not outside in the woods on Monday afternoon?

     And then there’s atheism. Some of us think that if you can’t see, hear or touch something, then it doesn’t exist. Some think you cannot prove the existence of God. Well, first of all, let me say that I think the whole of science simply proves the existence of God because science just shows us how incredible and miraculous everything is.

     But the best argument is found right in the Big Book, and in an old Dexter episode I was watching the other night. The argument is quite simple. The Big Book asks,

     “Who are we to say there is no God?”

     And Dexter counters to the assertion that we can’t prove the existence of God by flipping the coin.

     “Maybe I can’t prove there is a God but you can’t prove there isn’t.”

God, help me to suspend my disbelief long enough for You to fill me up…