Sober vs. Not Drinking

It has been quite some time since I wrote a blog post about my recovery. It actually took me going back and reading my previous posts to remind me that I actually used to enjoy it and it used to be helpful to me. I understand the reason why now.

Early on in my recovery I went to 1-2 AA meetings a week on average. My sponsor encouraged a 30 in 30 or 90 in 90, but that just seemed excessive. I wasn’t THAT bad. (Spoiler alert: I was THAT bad.) I thought that I was already ready for step 4 by my first 60 days of sobriety or more realistically what can be referred to as my first 60 days “not drinking”. Sobriety and Not Drinking are not mutually exclusive terms. It took me over a year of “not drinking” to realize that I wasn’t actually “sober”.

Ten days before Christmas 2017 I was let go from my job. The details of it aren’t as important as the fact that this was wholly preventable on my part. I really wish I could blame an un-caring company and a rotten manager, but that would not be fair to anyone including myself. Sure, there were things that could have been done on part of my manager to help me if she really wanted to do so. The company could have look at my record as a whole rather than the past year, but that wasn’t in my cards. The fact is I did not do what I needed to do to protect myself because I was not taking care of myself. I was “not drinking”. Sobriety is not a destination, it is a journey. The key to starting this journey is recognizing that no one can do it alone. If we had the ability to become sober on our own we probably wouldn’t need to “get sober” in the first place.

Three days after being fired my car was repossessed. So now I was unemployed and car-less at the beginning of Winter. The only plus I had going for me was that I had recently moved out of my mother’s house and am now living in Providence with more access to affordable public transit. I have to admit, even though it sucks having to take public transit, I have much less stress. I am not someone who is currently responsible enough to have a car. I’m not sure that I ever have been.

On Christmas Eve, my roommate informed me that our water heater had died and would need to be replaced. Circumstances were such that it wasn’t going to be fixed for quite some time. Also the heating system in the house was not working so we had to heat the house with space heaters. It wasn’t a great situation. My roommates had already made plans to be away from Christmas until well into January. So at this point, I was not working with no car, limited heat and no hot water to bathe. It was extremely frustrating. I had to get away. So I did.

I found a very cheap flight to Fort Lauderdale and made plans to stay with friends and planned my “Florida Walkabout”. Was it the most responsible decision based on my finances, absolutely not. What I learned on this trip was priceless. Peace.

Fort Lauderdale has a thriving LGBT community and an even more thriving LGBT Recovery community. While I was there I attended no less than two AA meetings a day and spent the rest of the day walking around. I walked over 70 miles while I was in Florida. I felt amazing. It was the “reset” I needed. I had originally intended to be there from Wednesday to Monday but I ended up extending my trip to leave the following Friday. I reconnected with an old friend who was staying at his parent’s condo a couple hours north of Fort Lauderdale and visited with him and then ended my trip visiting more friends in Orlando. I had no expectations on this trip and found answers to questions I didn’t know I had. It was truly a magical experience that changed me.

When I came home to the frozen tundra of southern New England I could feel those old feelings starting to creep back. I knew I had to do something. What could I do to make me feel as good as I did in Fort Lauderdale here in Providence? I couldn’t make it warm. I couldn’t walk around and feel the sun on my skin. I could however, go to a meeting every day.

I found a meeting in Providence called “Breakfast with Bill” which meets 7 days a week at 7am. I’ve gone almost every day since then and my life has improved dramatically. I started working with my sponsor weekly and I’ve found a full time job. About a month ago I started doing service with Breakfast with Bill and co-chair the Thursday meeting. Strangely enough, showing up, raising my hand and sharing and doing service work…works. I can say now that I am sober.

I still make mistakes. I am still broke. I still don’t have a car, but I am sober and therefore on the path to that happy life that AA promises. It feels like a miracle and for that I am grateful.


Daily “Big Book” Quote

“Many alcoholics are enthusiasts. They run to extremes. At the beginning of recovery a man will take, as a rule, one of two directions. He may either plunge into a frantic attempt to get on his feet in business, or he may be so enthralled by his new life that he talks or thinks of little else. In either case certain family problems will arise. With these we have had experience galore.”

This passage stood out to me this morning. As I am nearing my one year anniversary I am reflecting upon, of course, what it was like, what happened and what it’s like now. My fear is that my willingness and openness at the early stages of my sobriety may have opened up a lot of old wounds that best stayed closed.

I regret nothing, because I spoke my truth, but I am sorry if I hurt anyone.

Daily Gratitudes 5-19-17

It’s been quite a while since I made a post. I’m going to transition myself back into it slowly because I think I may have burned myself out last time.

So here’s my Daily Gratitudes list:

  • Mom
  • Rachel Maddow 
  • Spanky
  • Joe D.
  • AA
  • My job
  • THE SUMMER!!!!!
  • My dear old friends
  • My dear NEW friends
  • My car
  • Congressman Adam Schiff 
  • Season 3 of “The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmitt”(specifically Titus and Carol Kane)
  • ‘Wonder Woman” being released in a couple of weeks

Confession: A Recovered Memory from a Recovering Catholic

So it’s been a while since I’ve blogged. Truth is I haven’t had that much to say so rather than try to force out some recovery bullshit I decided to take a break. With regards to alcohol I’ve been doing very well. I haven’t had the urge to drink. I made it through Christmas without incident and even when presented with the opportunity to drink I didn’t even give it a second thought. I am proud of myself for that.

Christmas Eve I had an interesting realization. I was in the company of some folks I have met over the past months and a very harmless conversation about church and priests came up. For some reason we were talking about going to confession and I started talking about this embarrassing time I went and I was in the confessional and started to confess


about lying about something to my parents or something when the priest said “James?” I said, “Um, yeah…” and the Priest said “Why don’t you come in here?”. I remember

Sacrament of Reconciliation

thinking “Oh great, now I have to go, sit in front of Father Mike and try to lie to his face about the things I was going to lie about in the safety of the little dark room…”

In all honesty, I can’t remember if this occurrence happened before or after the inappropriate situation I had with Father Mike in the rectory when I was an altar boy. Nothing happened in the confessional but I guess my question is “Was this normal?” I seem to remember having the option of giving confession face to face or in the confessional. But it was an option. I feel like once I decided to go into the confessional booth and not face to face that my intentions were clear. I feel like this was another abuse of his “power”. What right did he have to, first of all, identify me and secondly force me to give my confession face to face? It was all about power. He had it and I didn’t.

It makes me wonder how many other times in my life I gave up my power to someone else. How easily swayed I’ve been. I learned a long time ago that I am quite susceptible to suggestion. I remember I was hypnotized on stage one time by a hypnotist and acted like f558eedf-ed9a-4baf-913c-15342a285a1d-2091-00000944c61a0db1_tmpa chicken. It was a surreal experience, I was fully aware of what I was doing but what I really had no control over what I was doing. That has frightened me to my core and I’ve not allowed myself to be in a situation where this might occur again.I’m actually glad that I had this memory resurface because I think that it is a core issue that I have and am interested in exploring it more in therapy.


Please feel free to reply and interact with this blog. I always love hearing feedback. Thanks.


These past few weeks have been very, very confusing. Considering that I have had a relapse of  sorts with food and my poor eating habits I’ve found it difficult to focus on pretty much everything. I never thought it was going to be easy, but I didn’t think that I was going to have such a setback so early on in my recovery.

I am happy that I haven’t had a drink, and in all honesty I haven’t really had the desire to do so. Meetings haven’t been as helpful as they’ve been in the past and I haven’t been as invested in going to them, which is all the more reason why I should be going more often. I fully intend to attend my meeting tonight. I’m going to start to find some activities which involve meditation. I may start a weekly yoga class.

I had a guided meditation session yesterday in my appointment with my addiction therapist and it worked really well for me. My sponsor has been recommending it to me anyway so I definitely think its a good idea. I also going to take a dance class again. Besides being fun, it was good exercise and good for my soul.

My only “New Years Resolution” is to really take sometime engaging in fun activities that are active and uplifting and to become a better “planner”. That starts today though not in 2017. Wish me luck!

Apology to Myself

Dear Jim,

I owe you an apology. I haven’t been treating you very well these past few weeks. I’ve been feeding you food that makes you sick. I’ve allowed you to wallow in self-pity. I’ve allowed you to have resentful thoughts that have made you sad. I’ve allowed you to make impulsive and reckless choices that have put you at risk of harm.

I’ve put you in situations that make you uncomfortable and are detrimental to your recovery. This was irresponsible and I’m very sorry. Please be assured that I recognize these behaviors and will try to avoid them in the future. You deserve more than this and I will provide and environment that is positive and uplifting going forward.

You’ve come so far and nothing that has happened can erase all of that. We can do this together. We’ve got this.




image          I’m stuck. There. I said it. Everything is stale and boring and non-productive. My mornings changed from insightful, thought provoking inspiration to Netflix and Cold Brew. I can not convince myself to go to the gym. I’m actually gaining weight. My impulsivity is not as manageable as it has been in the past few months. I feel like I am slipping back.

I’m relapsing.

Not using alcohol, but relapsing to my old eating habits. I ate an entire box of graham crackers friday night which made me so sick that I threw up for nearly an hour. I’m gaining weight and my self-esteem is starting to revert to its natural despressive state.

Brenda is a clever, clever girl. Brenda is putting up a big fight. She won’t go down without a fight.

I’m not missing my meeting tonight…it’s definitely going to be my priority.