Thanksgiving Day, 1976, was the day I knew I had to quit drinking. I had drunk 2 bottles of wine because no one else wanted any and I didn’t want to “waste” it. Then I decided no one loved me so I ran off to the river to do who knows what. But on my way to the river, I laid down on the opposite side of the garage to hide so I could see who followed me. All the family followed me. As I lay there in the rain and snow, I had the most rational thinking I ever had.
“Why are you doing this? These people love and care about you. You are causing pain in their lives by this pretending to do harm to yourself.”
So, I got up and went inside and announced that I had a problem with alcohol. My mother started crying and said that she had been afraid of that. So I went to AA and then, three months later, I went to a home for alcoholic women for a month. We prayed on our knees for ½ hour morning and night. I found the God of my understanding and worked the first five steps in the Maranatha House in Jacksonville, North Carolina.
The founder, Mary Brinkman, wanted no ties to outside agencies so it was funded by donations only. We (six women) did all the work plus had individual counseling from volunteer clergy, group therapy from another clergy member, 3 outside AA meetings weekly, 2 in-house AA meetings along with resident staff of recovering members. It was very intense to put it mildly. But exactly what I needed.
I never drank again nor did I ever have the desire to do so. I knew alcohol was another problem and never a solution for me.
That Thanksgiving in 1976 was Nov. 25. I have always used the day of Thanksgiving as my sobriety date and it varies from year to year. So you may find Nov. 24, 25, 26, or 27 as my date. Thanksgiving is my sobriety date no matter when it is.
In 2004, I began writing about my recovery experience on my main blog, Emotional Sobriety. I add something Monday-Friday. From that blog I have 20+ blogs which each have a central theme taken from Emotional Sobriety. I also have a Facebook page that is my 12th step work named Emotional Sobriety.
For five years I had my ebooks for sale at Amazon. But last year I decided to begin collecting what I believe someone in recovery who is working the 12 steps needs to add to his/her life. I believe the 12 steps are the foundation for the best life in recovery. They deal with the wreckage of the past as well as offer a new discipline into a life of self-will run riot.
But in order to heal the emotional scars of addiction, other lessons are necessary. The building blocks I have chosen are:
1. Learning to use your observer mind (also offered as a separate book);
2. Change your focus, change your life;
3. Stress and relaxation;
4. Accepting our core issues in recovery;
5. Increasing self-esteem overcomes addictions; and
6. Deepening our spiritual connection.
I believe all emotional dysfunction is an attempt to cope with trauma. That includes addiction. So giving up the addiction only allows the trauma to resurface. And it does. In spades.
I first named my book, Building Blocks for Recovery. I wanted this book to show how basic a recovery program can be. And I wanted it to be a message of hope. So I renamed it: Creating Peace, Finding Happiness, and Enjoying Success in Recovery. That is what I know recovery can be.