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The #RecoveryPosse Directory

To be added, or removed, reach out to an admin. At the moment we’re just getting the list together, recovery dates, other info will be sorted out eventually. #RecoveryPosse members include:

STRENGTH

I was pondering on my morning walk, about how we are living through one of “Those” times.. those pivotal points in history, when the world changes.. A global event, like no other. Scary times; interesting times; times that will make us evaluate how we live, how we will conduct ourselves and even with whom and where we will choose to live.

It is a Massive time, and the world we re-emerge into will be different…

But then I thought about this group – as I often do when I roam the beach. This collection of waifs and strays with Recovery as our goal in common. I know that a lot of us have been as low as a human can be and survived. I know that we all face a daily battle with sobriety, mental health or addiction… That we have found like minded people, who know that daily battle and are willing to support, encourage and just hug if it all gets too hard…

The rest of the world might well look at this group and think that somehow we are weaker, damaged, maybe even of lesser value to whatever the new world will look like..

But I disagree.

The very demons we face have given us strength. The bonds we have made here have already given us an online support system – before everyone else went looking for one. The strong desire to survive what life throws us, has given us insight and wisdom. And the very tenets of this group of:

Kindness

Support

Tolerance

Acceptance

Service

Care

Compassion

are the very attributes people will need to move forward.

I know we are all fearful, and these worrying times have made the Recovery journey so much harder. But then I read tweets of

“At least I’m tackling this sober”

“Yesterday was a bad day, but I’m back today”

“I’m struggling today, is anyone around”… And I see them answered almost immediately, and often for hours afterwards by support and care..

AND I can see a new emphasis on our daily gratitude list – learning to be thankful for what we have.

#ODAAT – living in the moment.

Meditating.

Taking joy in surviving another day…

WE are human, we do struggle, but we are also admitting to it.

I have a massive respect and gratitude for this group. And faith that individually, and as a whole we have what it takes to face the whatever version of the world emerges..  

Kia Kaha

Kia Māia

Kia Manawanui

Be strong

Be brave

Be Steadfast

It is Easy to be Grateful

With the world in free-fall and with an uncertain future, this alcoholic thinks there’s never been a better time to be grateful.

I know, things aren’t great at the moment. The shops are empty, we cannot visit our friends and family, people are very sick and dying; in fact it is safe to say that things are pretty bad. Being grateful in hard times can be challenging, finding something positive can be almost impossible and feel like a tokenistic gesture. Perhaps for some that is true, but not for me – and here is why.

Twelve months ago I felt like crap. I had gotten to the point where years of struggle to reign in the worst of my addiction was becoming impossible to maintain. The pretence that I was just a social drinker was going to be exposed for what it was, a sham. It was inevitable and I didn’t have the strength or the inclination to do anything about it. I looked at my family, my friends, my job – everyone and everything that was important to me and I knew that no one and no single thing would ever come before the need for a drink. I couldn’t see how I would be able to hold onto those things for much longer if I was still drinking.

And then something happened, something that I do not understand to this day. I gave in. I stopped fighting the fact that I couldn’t control the drinking and instead I ran, willingly, to someone close to me and told them: “I need help”. Seemingly out of nowhere I found the strength to open up about the darkest secret I had and admitted that I was powerless over alcohol. I didn’t know it then, but I had completed Step 1 of AA’s twelve step programme.

A few days later and I’m sat in an AA meeting, looking like a lost lamb – but instantly feeling a connection to these strangers. Everything I heard that first night told me that here were a group of people who knew what it was like to be in my head. Of course there were plenty of differences, differences in temperament when drunk, differences in the amount of drink drunk, differences in the places where we drank and the company we kept (or didn’t keep as the case may be), but the way our brains operated and how we saw the world and our place in it, that was the same.

At about this time I found Twitter and, rather more importantly #RecoveryPosse. Now, here were a group of people that I could relate to and that I could carry around in my pocket for emergencies! In those first few weeks and months it was members of #RecoveryPosse who kept me from picking up again; many of these people have since become firm friends and trusted allies in sobriety. Over the months I have found more and more like-minded folk here on Twitter and in the real world, people that help me and that I can help (which also helps me).

Today we find ourselves in unchartered waters; none of us can be sure about what the future holds. What we do know is that this new virus is not interested in our nationality, in our sex or sexual orientation. It’s not interested in our gender or whether we vote Conservative or Labour, Republican or Democrat. It does not care if we are a CEO of a FTSE 100 company or a homeless person on the streets; to this virus we are all the same. For a long time it has felt like we needed to be reminded of that; and this naturally occurring phenomenon has firmly planted that reality in our minds.

Social media has been increasingly dominant in our lives, more so for the younger generations, and our relationship with it has not always been smooth and unchallenging. We know too well the dark side of social media, the bullying, shaming and trolling that goes on every day, yet here we are – in the middle of this crisis and it is social media that is enabling us to stay connected with our loved ones – to see our parents in their living rooms whilst sitting in our own. It is social media that is allowing those of us in recovery to continue to attend the meetings that are vital to our health and wellbeing. And it is social media that enables us to have access to all the latest news and information on the virus and how to keep each other safe. How would we be fairing today if we did not have access to this technology?

No matter how bad things are today I am grateful that I am sober. I am grateful to have #RecoveryPosse and I am grateful to have AA.

Today it is easy to be grateful.

Contributed by @SobrietyMatt

Coronavirus Update

UPDATED 28 March 2020

During these troubled times it is important that we can all get access to good quality recovery meetings. As I find meetings I will update this page and indicate the latest update at the top of the page.

Revovery Hour: This meeting is run by @RecoveryHour and it takes place at 8.30pm (GMT) every day. There are readings, main share or chair, and share-back. Open to all in recovery regardless of fellowship. To access click the link at 8.30pm (GMT): bit.ly/RecoveryHour830

Bristol Frenchay, Acceptance is the Key: This is the home group of @SobrietyMatt. This AA meeting takes place every Tuesday at 8.00pm (GMT) and lasts for an hour. To access the meeting click on the link at 8.00pm (GMT): https://tinyurl.com/BristolAA

Soineantachd (Serenity): Organised by @Serenity0320 this meeting takes place every Saturday and Sunday at 12pm (Mountain)/ 2pm (Eastern)/ 6pm (GMT). To access click on the link at the appropriate time: https://zoom.us/j/8392646243

Bristol Young Peoples AA: Every Sunday at 7.30pm (GMT) is the Bristol Young People’s AA meeting. Do not be put off by the title, they are an incredibly warm and inviting bunch who do not care about your age! Click on the link at 7.30pm (GMT) every Sunday: https://tinyurl.com/BristolAA

In the Rooms: For 24/7 list of online meetings In the Rooms is a great page. Click on the link and sign up for a number of great live meetings.

WEconnect & Unity Recovery: WEconnect and Unity Recovery are partnering together to offer 4 daily all recovery meetings to anyone in the world. Meetings will follow an open format and are available to anyone in or seeking recovery. 7 days a week at 9am, 12pm, 3pm and 9pm (EST). Click on the link at the appropriate time: unityrecovery.zoom.us/my/allrecovery

SMART Recovery: If you would like to find an online SMART Recovery meeting, simply click the link to go directly to their calendar of meetings: https://www.smartrecovery.org/community/calendar.php

Advice on dealing with Covid-19 Anxiety and Worry: In addition to recovery, many people are concerned about how to deal with their worry and anxiety about Covid-19. If you would like to access a practical guide to managing these feelings, why not click on the link: Free Guide To Living with Worry and Anxiety During Global Uncertainty.

Wednesday’s Women’s Group: An all fellowship inclusive recovery meeting for women co-hosted by @RecoveryHour and @GraceBrodie6 that takes place every Wednesday at 7pm. Click the link at the appropriate time to join in: https://zoom.us/j/472491045

Contributed by @SobrietyMatt

Tea anyone?

There is a strange and rather unhelpful pattern to my sobriety journey. The better I’m doing and the more confident I become as a soberista, the more likely I am to stop doing all the things that I need to do to avoid drinking.

It inevitably starts with thoughts like: “I’ll miss Thursday’s meeting because I have XXX that I want to do.” and quickly progresses to “I don’t need to do all this reading, it doesn’t actually help – I’m just doing it because someone else thinks I should”. Here is where things are starting to get really dangerous, my alcoholic mind knows best!

The next step is to start to resent AA and all the time I’m wasting going to meetings. I miss more of them and start thinking about changing my home group because it’s not “doing it for me” (but in actual fact in order to become anonymous and get away with not doing what I need to). Of course my alcoholic mind thinks that all the people in my home group are constantly thinking about me and what I should be doing to stay sober!

Now that I’ve dropped all the readings, stopped thinking about resentments (other than creating new ones) and gratitude lists or going to meetings, my alcoholic mind has decided that a great injustice has been done to me by these terribly sad individuals who, like sheep, are following all these steps and reading all these passages without any thought or free thinking. I start thinking about how I would keep people sober differently (there is of course no substance to this for two reasons: 1. I have no idea about how to keep myself sober, let alone anyone else. 2. My alcoholic brain isn’t actually interested in anyone else, and certainly doesn’t care about my sobriety!).

As these thoughts are rushing in, my mood is on the floor. I’m irritable and restless and, guess what, I’m thinking about drinking!

The thing is with AA is that it’s a simple programme. Do the suggested things and you’re more than likely going to be able to stay sober. However, my alcoholic mind likes nothing more than complicating the simple things in life, and AA is just asking for it!

As I was contemplating how my mind makes even the simplest task complicated, it reminded me of the tea and coffee job at AA meetings. This was my first service in AA – chosen for me by my sponsor “to get to know people”, although my alcoholic mind told me “Ah, so he thinks I need humbling does he? Giving me a lowly job is he?”.

See the source image

Well, I decided that I would make some serious improvements to the tea and coffee station. First of all we needed better biscuits; I sourced the finest biscuits and only opened a packet at a time so that they were fresh at the beginning of each meeting. Then I decided that we needed to improve our range of teas, some herbal tea, good quality because that stuff matters. I made sure that every tea spoon was cleaned after use and put back in a little holder ready for the next user, cup rings were wiped up immediately and good order was kept throughout. My tea and coffee would be the best AA had ever seen!

Then something extraordinary happened, some people wanted to make their own drink because they were ‘very particular’ about how it should be, others complained that the tea was too strong, others still that it was too weak! Some people wanted cake, not biscuits, some wanted full-fat milk instead of half-fat and the list went on. “It’s just a drink” my mind was shouting, and then it hit home; it’s easy to overcomplicate even the simplest things in life. Since giving up the tea and coffee job I have noticed that each person that comes along will do it slightly differently, they make it more complicated than it needs to be, perhaps, but essentially it brings into clear focus the difference between what we need and what we want.

AA offers me what I need and it’s up to me to accept it or not, but as soon as I start changing it to suit me, the less able I am to reap its benefits.

“Keep it simple, stupid”

See the source image

It was a straight-talking friend who made me call my sponsor and get to a meeting during my latest blip, but I cannot afford to keep pushing the limits of this programme. Like it or not, I need to do the suggested things to stay sober, one-day-at-a-time.

Contributed by @SobrietyMatt

Helping Hands

A basic truth of recovery – any recovery – is that you cannot do it alone.

In a medical recovery – you rely on and expect to have support from medical and rehab staff.

If you have surgery, a baby, a chronic condition, even the flu, people call in and offer to help, and you accept it…

Somehow though, in THIS recovery, from addiction, mental illness, stress, burnout, we seem to shy away from seeking help; we actively hide our disease. Tell everyone “we are fine”.. And they are diseases, just like diabetes, heart disease, cancer… We need, if not treatment, then definitely help and support… And yet we are reluctant to seek it; or even admit to friends and family that we are unwell.

Maybe its because these conditions, sadly, still have some stigma attached. Substance dependency is often met with Judgement, that its somehow a personal failing; that you just need to stop drinking/using; that somehow you’re weak for not being able to stop..

And with mental illness, the same judgements can be found out there amongst people who don’t understand – you can’t just “cheer up”; take a pill; see a counsellor. That anxiety/depression are “all in the head” or “you’re just not trying hard enough”…. Is it any wonder, if these diseases strike, we cover up, often not admitting it even to ourselves for a very long time…?

Sometimes the very first step we take on the path to recovery, is to admit to ourselves that we are unwell…. And then we think “I can fix this, nobody else needs to know”… And we start a vicious cycle, that sets ourselves up for failure.. A cycle of going it alone, starting, relapsing, restarting, relapsing…  as well as still pretending to everyone else, that we are ok.

And even when we do open up, tell someone, we still have to accept that we can’t recover on our own, that we need people – in a meeting; in counselling; in a group. People who understand that we have to live our lives differently now, and will accept us as we are… people to walk alongside us, taking some of the load, offering advice, just listening to us talk, or listen as we sit in silence…

I’ve listening to conversations here and been chatting around the group, and there is a common theme – we don’t want to tell people in our lives that we are struggling, and we find it hard to ask for and accept help:

“I hate to feel needy”

I’m a stubborn bastard”

“I feel like I’m imposing on other people”

“It’s not how I’m wired”

“I am a very private person”

“I’m the caregiver, not the person who needs the care” 

“Everyone is so busy; I don’t want to take up their time”

Sound familiar? It certainly does to me.

I’m not part of a rehab programme, but I have started reaching out, firstly telling people here in the safety of anonymity; and just recently in Real Life, telling people I’m not OK, and I need their help…. And it is terrifying and exhausting…. But there is also this “Aha!” moment, of course most people knew I was depressed, they’ve been hovering on the side-lines, waiting to help, waiting to take care of me.. I still struggle with the honesty; with needing to be helped (which is very different to being Needy)… but as I keep telling myself I am a work in progress…

I have found that within this group, the ability to help and be helped has a balance, that I can be comfortable in… And the generosity of everyone is humbling…

So, you now find yourself in this very supportive non-judgemental group, and that’s brilliant… But it is just one place to find help and support; we all need to find that in our every day lives too; so that we can continue to grow and continue to overcoming these diseases that have shaped our journeys so far..

We have a Maori quote here in New Zealand “Kia Kaha”; it means “stay strong”. We say it to people facing adversity; people who are struggling; people who are working to achieve something profound..

I have an extension to it. And I wish it to all of you

kia kaha

kitea te kaha mai i etahi atu

stay strong

find strength from others

hiya

Hi, I’m Chris, one of your new Admins..

Here to help get this thing up and running, and to hopefully keep it running smoothly..

This is intended to be a resource for everyone in the Recovery Posse to use, to find inspiration, camaraderie, and somewhere to share your thoughts. We welcome any contributions, be they personal writings; quotes that have helped you; recovery suggestions; questions you need help with.. or just a resource to get you through the day…

If you have any suggestions, please let us know, and we’ll try to get them up and posted, so you can share with the group.

We’re all still learning how to make this resource work, so any input would be useful. Let us know the kind of things you’d like to find here..

I hail from NZ, and am in the Recovery Posse to recover from burn out and some mental health issues. My story is probably similar to others, and I’ve found the Posse, like most of you, a safe place with so much support…

I hope to get to know some of you in the coming months…

Thanks

Chris