My Funny Mix-Match Recovery Discovery Quilt

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I just read something in the FIX that I really liked. When I first stopped drinking I read everything I could get my hands on that would educate or inspire me on the topic of alcohol abuse, addiction, and recovery. Four and a half years later, I find that my eyes and mind are so saturated with the posts that I read in our private community and the posts that I edit and publish for our public blog, that I rarely read articles on recovery or addiction outside of the Boozemusings space. I skim articles sometimes. But really I’m quite happily saturated with science/theory/sociology of recovery/addiction. I’ve read my fill for the moment.

But I read something today that I really read. I didn’t just skim it but savored each word because it was different and really good.

” Addiction is bigger than our understanding of it. This is why we are being destroyed left and right all over the world. Fortunately, Recovery is also bigger than our understanding of it. It is a mansion with many rooms. And if one person goes into a room we didn’t find help in, who are we to criticize, condemn, harass, rant and rail that it doesn’t work for those who have found peace in those rooms?” 

The topic of his piece is the ranting and railing over AA versus other paths to recovery.

There is a lot of that ranting and railing in the Comment streams in The FIX. Against AA or against people who don’t use AA. 

I hate the ranting and railing and the longer I’m sober the more I hate it and the longer I’m sober the less interested I am in anything that involves hate… not interested. 

Not interested in fighting or controlling or debating. Only interested in enjoying, expressing and evolving.

My first months sober were a big mismatched mess of a whole bunch of different influences. From thoughts and ideas that came from the strictest sort of traditional Alcoholics Anonymous recovery protocol to Charles Deemer’s little ebook  Staying Sober Without AA ( in that link, it’s good) and James Frey A Million Little Pieces ( yes I’ve heard the story behind the story but the book spoke to me). I took something from everyone, like a quilt of ideas, a beautiful vibrant quilt that I wrapped around myself and I have used that protective quilt long enough to get to the point where I am happily exploring that “mansion with many rooms” and it is spectacular. Like a cathedral really! Full of light and hope and beauty 

I don’t call myself alcoholic and I don’t identify as diseased but I understand why the people who do adhere to that traditional AA approach do and I respect that. It works for them.

It just doesn’t work for me and I spent a lot of time figuring out what does work for me. It’s mine. I own it.

And I think that that is the trick . Stay open and learn and grow.

The only idea that I am not open to listening to or learning from is the idea that anyone knows me better than me. That anyone can tell me how best to do this discovery thing in recovery. That is the mansion with many rooms. That is my recovery. Discovering me.

 Not the me that someone else tells me I am. Not the me that someone else needs me to be. But the Me who I Am.


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Alcohol is the only drug that people question you for NOT using but you don’t HAVE to drink. Don’t stay trapped because the stigma of not drinking seems worse than the cost of drinking too much.

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The following is a list of books that helped me with links inside the titles to posts in BOOM and on Boozemusings about those books.

I stitched my quilt from these patches. Maybe some will help you stitch your quilt too. Anne Dowsett Johnson “Drink”, Gabrielle Glaser “Her Best Kept Secret”, Harry Haroutunian MD “Being Sober”, Charles Deemer “ Staying Sober Without AA, which is really short and you can read it here, Dirk Hanson “The Chemical Carousel”, Sacha Z. Scoblic “ Unwasted my Lush Sobriety”, James Frey “ A Million Little Pieces”, Augusten Burroughs “Dry”, Tammy Roth “High Bottom” Rachel Brownell “Mommy Doesn’t Drink Here Anymore”, Caroline Knapp “Drinking a Love Story”, Sarah Hepola “Blackout”, Marc Lewis “Biology of Desire”, Johann Hari, “Chasing the Scream”, Gabor Mate, “In the Realm of the Hungry Ghosts”.


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