Slogans and the Solution 

We, who have put together a few clean and sober days in a row, must realize that “just not using no matter what” is not as easy as it sounds for someone who has not yet found THE solution…
The solution is found in a complete personality change, a spiritual awakening, sufficient to bring about recovery from alcoholism and addiction.
If we have found that solution then we share it with those who are still struggling. To tell an addict or an alcoholic to “put the plug in the jug” or just “not pick up,” is not a solution. It is irresponsible and can have deadly consequences.
If “just not drinking or using” was enough there would be no need for 12 step recovery. “Nothing, no matter what” is only part of the story. Half of a solution will kill a real alcoholic or addict.
When I was new, all I could think was- “don’t drink or use no matter what? Sounds good, but how the heck do I do that? If I could do that I wouldn’t be here…”
Slogans are cute, helpful and filled with irrefutable truths but they are not the solution.
~ S.D.

The Crash

Part 1

May 1, 2008
SANTA CRUZ, CA- A 40-year-old Santa Cruz woman facing manslaughter charges following a car crash that left one person dead was released from  Dominican Hospital and is being held in County Jail in lieu of $2 million bail.

Carrie Smith faces one charge of gross vehicular manslaughter and one charge of DUI causing injury, both felonies. She also faces a charge of possession of methamphetamine, a misdemeanor, according to a Highway Patrol officer.

The crash occurred at 2:30 a.m. on May 1 on Highway 17, south of Summit Road.

Smith was driving a Volkswagen Jetta when collided with a Honda Accord driven by 41-year-old Karen Hall of Scotts Valley.

Hall was pronounced dead at the scene.

Bridget Hall, 16, a passenger in the Honda, survived and is being treated for non-life threatening injuries, the CHP said.

Smith, who suffered a neck injury in the collision, told authorities that she had been drinking with friends earlier in the evening before the crash.
~ S.D.

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Part 2

May 8, 2008
KAREN HALL, 41
Karen Louise Hall, age 41, of Scotts Valley, California, passed away unexpectedly Saturday (May 1, 2008) after a tragic automobile collision.

Karen was born in San Francisco, California on December 27, 1966 and moved to Scotts Valley in 1986. She was married to Walter Hall in 1994. She was the daughter of Frank and Betty Cooke. Karen worked at a local credit union for 10 years where she had countless friends. Besides her husband, Walter, Karen leaves her daughter, Bridget Hall of Scotts Valley, CA, and brother and sis-in-law, Bill and Angelina Morris. Karen also leaves behind her beloved nieces, Summer and Daisy Morris, as well as numerous aunts, uncles, cousins and close friends.

Karen was an incredible person and loved spending time with her daughter. She also loved to travel and visited a new country each spring with her husband. She also enjoyed gardening, baking.

At husband Walter’s request, the funeral and burial will be a private event for immediate family only. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Mothers Against Drunk Driving.
~ S.D.

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Part 3

May 8, 2013
“Hi. My name is Carrie, I’m an alcoholic. On May 1st I celebrated 5 years of continuous sobriety.

“I got sober in prison thanks to H & I (Hospitals and Institutions, for those who don’t know). My life was a mess long before I wound up in prison. Prison was just the physical separation from drugs and alcohol I needed to finally surrender and get help.

“The only solution I had for living before the program was drinking and drugging. My solution took me places I didn’t want to go, kept me longer than I wanted to stay and cost me more than I was prepared to pay.

“5 years ago I caused a horrible car crash that killed a woman. She was someone’s friend, daughter, wife and mother. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about that woman and her family. 

“Now that I have done my time, I have dedicated my life to carrying the message of hope and recovery to those who still suffer. I know I can never repair the damage I have done, but I try every single day to do my best to be a better person and give back a world where I have already taken so much from.

“Thank you all for 5 years.”
~ S.D.

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Part 4 

May 1st, 2016
8 long years of trying to numb the pain

8 long years of trying to forget the events of one tragic day

8 long years of tying to slowly join her mother whom she missed so much

Bridget started drinking at 16. She was unable to cope and found her only comfort in the bottom of a bottle.

Bridget knew she couldn’t drink anymore. She also knew she couldn’t stop.

Her broken hearted father tried all he could to help. There was counseling, interventions and even brief visits to rehabs. But nothing seemed to have any effect.

Desperate, broken and with no other options, Bridget walked into a local church where the held recovery meetings. 

As she walked in the door, a woman reached out and shook her hand, “Hi. My name is Carrie. Welcome.”
~ S.D.

Instant but not Gratifying 

For years I lived off the instant gratification of a drink or a drug …or so I thought.

Most of the time it was instant, but rarely was it truly gratifying.

It was more like a fleeting escape from the reality of my existence, which I refused to face.

My solution was a symbol and a symptom, of a deeper problem.

I placed bandaid on top of bandaid, while the infection under my skin spread out of control.

Slowly, my external appearance began to match my deteriorating interior.

I lowered my goals to match my behavior.

I stopped looking in mirrors, terrified of the unrecognizable person that stared back at me.

I could not wish or will away what I had become.

I was broken and it felt as if I was unfixable.

Exhausted, I became desperate enough to surrender.

I gave myself over to something greater and ever so slowly my life began to change.

I found that there is no shortcut to happiness.

Real satisfaction has never been instantaneous.

I needed a new definition of what it meant to be content.

Today, gratification is a process and not a destination.  

Happiness comes from practicing spiritual principles, doing the next right thing and having a solid program of action.
This is the course, a new direction and A New Way of Life.
~S.D.

Good Orderly Direction 

I am grateful for being awakened to this New Way of Life
Show me how to practice spiritual principles in all my affairs
Let me carry a message of hope to all who are suffering
Teach me when and how to give
Help me be efficient and effective
Balance me with humility and acceptance
Ground me with serenity and clarity
Make a living example of solution so that I can be of maximum service to my fellows
I offer my best effort to be in action on a daily basis
Thank You,
~ S.D.

Not Getting Loaded or Not Having to Get Loaded?

For me, there had to be a physical separation from drugs and alcohol, a forced time out- a safe place to heal, rest and eat.
There were physical cravings; the withdrawal as my body detoxified itself from chemicals in my bloodstream. I sat in pain and discomfort, knowing that my brand of familiar relief would only start the vicious cycle again.
When the cravings stopped there was a brief window of opportunity before the obsession took over again- an interval of opportunity.  I didn’t know how long this window would remain open so I used human tools to white knuckle my way through each day, all the while knowing there would be a time when my human powers would fail me.
Self-knowledge, fear, avoidance of temptation, consequences and promises were my friends as I walked through life dry- restless, irritable and discontent.
One day at a time, I began to realize that the obsession to drink and my flawed thinking, would return full force. Without an alternative solution, I would have no choice but to drink. It became apparent that if I wanted to truly recover I would have to do more than just not drink or use. I would have to change the way I thought, but how does one change the way they think?
I have never been a master over my own thinking and I have never been very effective in changing my feelings with a thought. Thankfully, I didn’t have to. A group of wonderful people adopted me and showed me that I could live different by acting different. Simple but not easy- a rigorous program of action designed to bring about change sufficient to recover from a seemingly hopeless state of mind and body.
Now rooted in the solution, I can go anywhere or do anything. I don’t have to fight alcohol- the craving or the obsession. I live a life where I don’t have to drink or use. I have freedom and a new way of life- as long as I treat my condition on a daily basis.
Without a real solution, ‘not getting loaded’ is a temporary fix at best.
~ S.D.

Memorial Day

I would like to thank all of the men and women who have fought for my freedom.
I reflect on our history of integration in the military, people from other nations, races and religions, all joining in one cause to preserve a lifestyle I often take for granted everyday.

 

I don’t necessarily agree with war, or politics; but I love being able to go where I want to go, buy food at a store,  turn on the lights and that my children have a roof over their heads, clothes on their bodies and an education which allows them to think critically about the world in which they exist. 
I am grateful for those who have died so that I may be live. 
~S.D.

Sober Horse Thieves 

What do you get when a horse thief stops drinking and using?

A clean and sober horse thief.
Not everyone has had a spiritual awakening. 

Every single person I encounter is not necessarily practicing a new way of life.

My assumptions and expectations are future resentments, if I rely human powers to meet my needs. 

Reliance on God’s power never fails me, if I can live in acceptance.
I choose to be giving of self because I must if I want to be free.

If I surround myself with admitted liars, cheats and thieves how can I expect anything more?

There is good in the worst of us and bad in the best of us. 

We are human beings working towards a spiritual experience. 
And don’t mistake kindness for weakness. 

God has made me strong.
I am learning to give, without an expectation of return.

I will trust with healthy boundaries.
~ S.D.