Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Can We Talk About Alcoholism and Suicide?

Here's an important article from The Chicago Tribune inviting readers to at least be willing to open the conversation about alcoholism, drug addiction and suicide.

We are, and maybe rightfully so, careful in how we talk about people who have died. But celebrity also comes with responsibility. The public eye is in public. So, rather than whisper, some folks are talking about the role of alcohol in Anthony Bourdain's life and death.

Here's the article:http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/commentary/ct-perspec-alcoholism-anthony-bourdain-drinking-suicide-0622-20180621-story.html

 I hope you will share it with others, and that you'll share your comments here too. We can't talk too much about addiction.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Vacation in Recovery-The Family Road Trip

Well, of course recovery never really goes on vacation but recovering people do. Going to meetings while traveling is one of the smartest things we can do. It’s not just that we stay sober or abstinent longer and better, but vacations get better the longer we are in recovery.

One advantage of vacation recovery is that we learn to stress less about the “stuff” of travel. One of the best pieces of vacation advice I ever received from a sponsor is that “The trip begins when you are packing.” I used to be so miserable all through the process of getting to the place where I was going to be vacationing that the car ride and the airport and the taxi rides were awful—for me and everyone around me. I wanted to get to the vacation place because I thought my adventure would begin then and there but that’s not true. Listen to the stories people tell about great trips…it includes the taxi and the airport and the jitney and …

But I just got some new inspiration for this year’s vacation from a brand-new book,

 “Don’t Make Me Pull Over! The Informal History of the Family Road Trip”

Richard Ratay has written the most fun and illuminating memoir/history book/trivia game/memory stimulator. 

Ratay tells the story of his family’s many vacation road trips –Wisconsin to Florida-- the days before cell phones, in car screens, and easy access to on-road dining. I’m guessing you will relate to his and his parent’s dilemmas of packing, driving, managing kids in the backseat—all before car seats, seatbelts and movies in the car.

If your summer travels take you on the road to family or friends—here’s your hostess gift. And this might even be—how old-fashioned—a book you read aloud in the car to each other. You’ll either laugh a lot or have to explain a lot to younger folks—or both.

But that is what we want when we vacation in recovery—some laughter, some adventure and some learning.

But be sure to include some twelve-step meetings in your travels—that too, is part of the adventure and the learning.

Over the years I have been to meetings all over the United States and in France, Germany, Poland, Italy, England, The Czech Republic and Bermuda. I've gotten directions, restaurant advice, suggestions on local sites, invites to performances, guidance on public transportation, sometimes rides and always smiles, encouragement and patience with the language barrier.

There is something so fun and smart about asking a new twelve-step group for suggestions about where to eat, what to do, the best way to drive to the next city etc. I’ve been tipped off to bargain shopping, fabulous inexpensive restaurants, great things to see, and the places to avoid. 

As we move “out of the woods” We don’t need a guidebook to tell us where the locals eat or shop—we have our local recovery “family” that we can ask. This is where AA and AAA meet up and it is such a bonus. We also learn that twelve-step principles always prevail regardless of age, location, politics or language.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

When You Want to Be Like Everybody

You know that thing that parents say when a kid
begs, "But everybody's doing it." And Mom or Dad say, "Well, if everybody jumped off the bridge, would you jump too?"

They were trying to be helpful and squash that
sense we had of wanting to fit in, and be like everybody else.

Well, that feeling doesn't go away just because we get older. And, if we are trying to do something new or risky, that wanting to be like  "everybody" can often haunt or hinder us.

Well, I found an adult way of helping myself through that sticky, insecure spot. I made myself an "Everybody Wall".

Since I struggled with believing in myself as a writer and artist and performer--I had to redefine who my "everybody" is.

When I would get stuck thinking that I was supposed to be different, or successful in some other way, I knew that I needed some peers. And in the beginning--and even now--I had to find those peers in people I loved but had not met. And that's who went on my "Everybody Wall."

I needed reminders that there were many women who heard that different drummer, or who were called to do less traditional work, or who turned out to be just fine even though they were not liked, or understood, or even truly known.

Here are my pals, my sacred sisterhood, my everybody:

Dorothy Day, Helen Gurley Brown, Pema Chodron, Wislawa Szymborska, May Sarton, Amelia Earhart, Erma Bombeck, Georgia O'Keefe  and Coco Chanel.

Who are your sisters--your sacred mentors--and your "everybody"?