Sunday, February 18, 2007

I am craving, I am thinking of relapsing

I am craving! My addict mind is playing tricks on me again. I would like to go out this afternoon and have some drinks with friends. 50% chance I will do it. I am on the brink of relapsing today.

There is an ongoing conflict with my wife for 2 days now. I am going out this afternoon and I will look for some friends to have some drink.

Sounds familiar? My addict mind is playing tricks on me again. An addict always looks for opportunities to relapse. At the first sign of an opportunity, he/she will relapse. What are these opportunities? A big fight with the wife? Problem at work? Financial difficulties? Major problem? Even minor problem?

For an addict, there are myriads of reasons to relapse. Any addict can come out with just any excuse in this world to go back to his old ways. Done that. Been there. I have used all the creative excuses I can create to just indulge myself back into my addiction.

When I am in this situation, when I am thinking of relapsing, I just pray to God to help me. The Sobriety Prayer comes in handy in this case.

God grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change
Courage to change the things I can
And wisdom to know the difference

There are certain things in this world that we cannot change. The attitudes of our co-workers, nagging of wife, cousins who tell negative things about you. No matter what we do we cannot change them. No amount of pressure will change my wife to stop nagging. She has been like that for years. We cannot change the world, dirty politics, the crazy-driving jeepney drivers, policemen who expect to be bribed in every opportunity. The world we live in is not perfect so why fret and get frustrated. Just accept it as it is.

But not everything is out of control though. We can change ourselves. Traverse the right direction instead of going the wrong route. The serenity prayer focuses on the courage to changing ourselves. It is not easy especially in the case of an addiction but it can be done. By knowing things that we can and cannot change, by having the wisdom to know which ones we can change or can't change, we will have peace of mind, the serenity to go thru life's daily challenges.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Living one day at a time

I live one day at a time now. I don't think about the week ahead, the month head, the year ahead or the decade ahead. I know of some recovering addicts who have not relapsed to their addiction for 10 years now. 10 years and they are still recovering. One an addict always an addict. I am an addict and will always be. That is the title of this blog. I am an addict for life. I always keep that in my mind. It will only take one sip for me to go back to my alcoholism whether I've been sober for a day or for a year or even 10 years. So I better don't touch that bottle.

Last weekend, I was confronted by 2 tempting situations. My brother invited me to visit his restaurant/bar in Makati to discuss some personal business. While discussing, he was drinking San Mig Light. He courteously offered me the same drink but I begged off. I instead opted for a Coke in can. 30 minutes into the meeting, he ordered again another bottle of San Mig Light. At that time I felt very thirsty and I was already craving for the alcoholic beverage in front of me. My addict mind is playing tricks on me again. But I focused myself on the agenda of our meeting and I decided to wrap the meeting or else I may not be able to hold myself back from taking that first sip again. I went home and I was congratulated by my wife and kids for successfully resisting the temptation. I felt good about it.

The next day we went to my father's house to celebrate his 70th birthday. At the back of the house, beer overflowed and there was this long table with all my cousins and other drinking buddies. They offered me to drink but I just told them that I will be back a little later because I still haven't taken my dinner. I went back to my father's house and stayed there for good. It surprised me because I didn't crave that time. I did not go back to my cousins to drink and I was able to keep my focus away and stayed with my non-drinking relatives.

Two accomplishments in one weekend. It strengthens my resolve not to go back to drinking. I told my wife the next morning, I don't miss drinking and I don't miss the hang-over. It is always a nice feeling to welcome each morning in good spirit with new-found focus in life.

Friday, February 9, 2007

Family of Alcoholics

Alcoholism runs in the family. My father used to be an alcoholic. He mellowed down a bit not because of his own choosing but because of his high-blood pressure. His doctor advised him not to take any more alcohol. So it was forced to him not to. But given the choice I am sure my father would go back to his old ways.

My brother next to me who is in Canada now has stopped drinking alcohol. Again it was not his choice too. His wife and his parents-in-law are born-again Christians. So my brother has no choice but to abide by the customs of his new family. But everytime he comes back for a vacation, he goes back to his old ways by drinking beer to his heart's delight.

The youngest brother has not mellowed down yet. He still has a very active night life just like me a few years ago. He goes out 2-3 times a week often coming home around 2-3am in the morning. Just recently, his girlfriend mentioned of him complaining about chest pains. I experienced that too before when my body's alcohol level is beyond normal. I don't know what is the normal level but I just know when it is too much.

Alcoholism is not hereditary but more of a social disease. When we were young, we were confronted by my father's alcoholism. Almost everyday, my father hosted his friends and they often drank, sing-out loud, had endless discussions until the wee hours in the morning. It seemed enjoyable at that time. The camarederie, the brotherhood of alcoholics. When each of us grew up, we seek the same environment, the same group of people, we seek the intoxicating experience of alcohol.

When I joined Alcoholics Anonymous, aside from deciding that I want to get rid of this habit, in the back of my mind, I told myself, I don't want my eldest son to follow in my footsteps, to follow in our footsteps. Alcoholism has to stop right here with me. I don't want my son to experience what I went thru. Late nights, womanizing, sleeping in the most unholy places, extravagant spending for the sake of the brotherhood, affected relationships, trauma, quarrels, shouting match, and too many negative effects in myself and my family.

Alcoholism has to stop right now. I don't want to raise another family of Alcoholics. It is enough. With the Higher Power and by the grace of God, I know it can be done.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Joe and Charlie Big Book study

Got this link from a fellow recovering addict by the name T.K. of It is a discussion and study of the Big Book, the Bible of the Alcoholics Anonymous. I have yet to hear the mp3s but I am pretty sure it will be worth your time to listen and absorb the teachings.

To head straight to the download page, here is the url :

Friday, February 2, 2007

Money is the root of all evil

The title of this article is very true for an addict. Money causes an addict to buy drugs, drink alcohol, use women, gamble, or get the object of whatever addiction you are in. I am no exception. Whenever I have money in my pocket, my addict mind plays trick on me. My evil mind savors the night life, the pretty women around me, the ambiance in a bar, sipping of alcohol. At the first sign of a relapse, these scenes are played over and over again. If you don't know how to handle it, you will soon relapse into your addiction. Again and again. That was the old me. If I have at least one thousand pesos in my wallet, I will find a drinking buddy to go out and have several rounds.

This afternoon is quite different. I have proven to myself that I, with God's help, will be able to triumph against my addiction. I went to Quezon City to collect from a client. At the same time, I encashed some checks. In short, I ended up having around twenty thousand pesos in my pockets. One month into sobriety, I noticed my addict mind is not anymore playing tricks on me. I did not imagine the sounds, lights, women, beer, laughter. They are gone. I was amazed. I did not crave. Twenty pesos is more than enough to rampage into a drinking frenzy and womanizing in bars. But for some reason, I did not think about it. Perhaps the AA 12-steps is really effective. Wow. I triumphed again today. Living one day at a time. Taking each challenge at a time. I won this time but I have to be vigilant in the coming days. Temptations lurk in each corner.

Thank you Lord for the strenth you have given me this time. I am more in control now than I used to be. Alcoholics Anonymous 12-steps and 12 traditions are really working in me. God is also.

Thursday, February 1, 2007

I feel so weak, life is so dull (One month into sobriety)

Almost a month without having tasted alcohol, I feel so depressed, bored, and weak. The craving is gone, but general body weakness is present in me. Just two days ago, I got slight fever due to tonsilities. I am just recovering now.

I discussed this with my wife. I told her I feel so weak these days. Life is so dull. We've been theorizing that because I became so dependent with alcoholic drinks for more 20 years and then suddenly removing those behavior- and mood-altering drinks will really make me depressed and weak. Again, this might be withdrawal syndrome. One month into sobriety I feel lifeless. I pray that this feeling shall come to pass.

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change
Courage to change the things I can
And wisdom to know the difference

Three days ago, my wife and I had a little altercation (word war). I was almost thinking of relapsing at that time. I did not attend Alcoholic Anonymous meeting because I will only use that meeting as an excuse to relapse. I stayed home, prayed hard. Thank God, He gave me the strength not to relapse. Praying really works and surrendering to God that you are helpless to battle your addiction alone.

In the past I tried several times not to succumb to alcohol but I always failed. Will is strong but the flesh is weak, as they say. I've never been this sober ever in my life (except of course when I was in my pre-teens. One month is so long to be sober. But as they say in AA, live one day at a time. For new recovering addicts, live one hour at a time.