Veronica Valli’s Recovery Rocks Series

I was recently honored to be featured on Veronica Valli’s website as interviewee for her Recovery Rocks series.

Pop on over to read my interview, then kick off your shoes and read through the rest of her series and blog.

An excerpt:

1) Describe your ‘rock bottom.’

That depends on how ‘rock bottom’ is defined. I think the most common definition is ‘the moment when you decide you need help,’ so we’ll go with that. For me it was after losing two jobs back to back due to showing up under the influence, followed by an intervention by my wife and son.

I prefer to think of my rock bottom as…

Those links again: veronicavalli.com, and my interview.

4 thoughts on “Veronica Valli’s Recovery Rocks Series”

    1. Something I always see when reading blogs about alcoholism and people trying to get sober is that many of them fail after some period of time. When you have a rough day and just need that drink. Many folks have to find assistance outside of their home and look for a sober living house, whereas everyone you come in contact with is trying to do the same thing. Not drink. An interesting article here:

      http://sober.co/2014/10/22/drug-rehab-no-money-try-a-sober-living-house-instead

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Experiencing Spirituality, Finding Meaning Through Storytelling

Book cover imageFifteen-some years ago I picked up a copy of “The Spirituality of Imperfection.” Co-authored by Ernest Kurtz and Katherine Ketcham, it has been a favorite of mine ever since, a book I return to often for guidance and insight. This new offering, Experiencing Spirituality, Finding Meaning Through Storytelling, by the same team, has now joined the first on my shelf of favorite spiritual reads.

In this book, in some ways similar to the first, they address spirituality, not directly by talking about it, but through a collection of wisdom stories sewn together with commentary to create a work that communicates the experience of spirituality. The author’s have divided the book into fifteen sections. Each section examines a single idea, such as community, forgiveness, memory, confusion, recovery and so much more.

This is the kind of book that you can pick up and open to any page for something to contemplate at that moment, or go to a specific topic that you wish to explore. The commentary is masterful and enlightening, while allowing the stories to tell the story.

Five stars and highly recommended reading.

    1. Since quitting alcohol I have been on this slow tar like journey to learn more about spirituality so this is going straight into my Kindle.

      Thank you.

      Any other books on mindfulness and spirituality that you can recommend?

      Lee Davy

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        • Hi, and welcome! Besides The Spirituality of Imperfection, mentioned above, I highly recommend Beginning Mindfulness, by Andrew Weiss (which is great for beginners, and goes beyond that) and The Mindful Path to Self-compassion, by Christopher K. Germer, PhD.

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            • Hi Ron,

              Thanks for this. I have just downloadedThe Spirituality of Imperfection through Audible and it’s now my new running buddy. I will check the other titles out in due course.

              Thanks for the speedy response and keep up the good work.

              Lee

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    1. There is a Kickstarter Campaign under way to help get the only documentary ever created about Bill Wilson, co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, on PBS.
      The opportunity only exists through November 20th, 2015!
      Ernie Kurtz is in the documentary!
      For more information please visit:

      kickstarter.com/projects/billw/bill-w-documentary

      Like

Review: How To Have Fun in Recovery

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Title: How To Have Fun in Recovery, by Lisa M. Hann

I have to admit I was skeptical about the author’s topic before I began reading. I know from speaking to people in early recovery that the questions of boredom and fun come up more often than not, and I’ve always taken the stance that those things will work themselves out after the person has established a solid base of recovery. Lisa has not only put together a strong message of hope and encouragement for those just beginning to live sober, she has convinced me to change the way address those questions in the future.

This is a short piece, easily read in one sitting. I recommend it for anyone out there who are wondering, “What am I going to do for fun now that I don’t drink?”

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Title: 365 Ways to Have Fun Sober, by Lisa M. Hann

It’s companion book is a day-to-day compendium of a year’s worth of suggested things to do for fun without drinking.  Some as mundane as “Sing in the shower,” some as involved as take a day trip to a city you’ve never visited. I have to say I had intended to read 10% the entries for this review, but became so engrossed at the variety and scope of the list that I ended up reading cover to cover. No one is going to find every suggestion helpful, of course, but anyone, in recovery or not, will find a lot of things to do that they would never have thought of. Highly recommended.

    1. Pingback: | How To Have Fun in Recovery: Review

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Step 10 – Onward and Upward

Steps 4-9 are the house cleaning steps. We go over our past actions, thoroughly and honestly, and make amends wherever indicated. Step 10 tells us how we can keep it that way by putting them into practice day by day. How I do this follows below.

Every day as I go about my business, I try to be aware of any instances where I am acting selfishly, dishonestly, or resentfully in my relationships with others. When I see any of that going on, I correct it (make amends) immediately or as soon as I’m able.

Early in my recovery, I wasn’t very good at staying aware of how I was acting. So after each interaction with someone, I would stop and do a sort of mini-inventory (Steps 4, 5 and 9). I’d put the of the interaction through Steps 4 and 5. If I found anything I needed to correct, I’d continue as directed in Step 9. Note: I was already ready to work on correcting myself, that’s why I was doing this in the first place. So Step 6 was a given, and as I’ve said before, Step 7 does not apply to me. As for Step 8, listing the person would be a list of one, and I was not likely to forget that I needed to make amends to the person, so I didn’t bother. Also in Step 8, we are to “become willing” to make amends. Also a given from the fact that I was doing the mini-inventory.

As time went on, doing my mini-inventory became habit. Today, I can usually catch myself acting selfishly, dishonestly, or out of resentment at the time I’m doing it, and often before I act at all. It has just become part of how I live my life.

I go through the same process with my interactions on-line. When someone writes something to me or anyone else that ‘get’s my hackles up’, I give my feelings the mini-inventory treatment before I respond. Why am I feeling angry, resentful, envious, or whatever? (My answer almost always comes down to pride.) And I remind myself that “Love and tolerance of others is our code.”

That’s how I practice Step 10. I’d love to hear how you put the step into action in your life.

5 thoughts on “Step 10 – Onward and Upward”

    1. Thank you for the reminder to do Step 10. I often go about my day clueless about what I’m doing or acting. But I like the idea of evaluating each encounter with a mini 10th step. I think I get hung up with the faulty way I treat myself internally with self-talk. I think Step 10 is a perfect exercise to do with all these moving parts in my own brain!

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        • Welcome, Molly! I”m glad you found this useful. Yes, our self-talk can be brutal at times. I have a few ways to counteract the tendency, and I’ll be posting about those in up-coming entries. Thank you for the feedback.

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    1. I used to go weeks or months before I even would consider I might be acting like an ass, if at all. And if I wasn’t an ass, I beat myself up because I was convinced I was an ass. “As time goes on”, that is my daily reminder. I must be patient and kind to myself. I can catch these behaviors now almost in the moment, I just have to keep reminding myself that there is no shot clock running and I don’t get penalized for the length of time it takes me to correct my actions or thoughts. Also, worth noting, recognizing that are more steps than just #4 reminds me that eventually I must practice 10, otherwise, I can’t check my work. Thanks as always.
      OGK

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        • Learning to be patient and kind with ourselves is hard, especially at first. Self-compassion is one of the topics I just mentioned in my reply above that I’ll be writing about in the near future. Thanks!

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Review: Why You Drink and How To Stop: Journey To Freedom

Cover Art “I do believe that instead of getting lost in the ‘why’ you are an alcoholic, it’s far more important to figure out what you are going to do about it.” – Veronica Valli, Why you drink and How to stop: Journey to freedom

Addictions therapist and recovered alcoholic Veronica Valli has written, in words from the heart, a solid, practical resource not only for those who have or think they might have a drinking problem, but also for those who have a friend or loved one who may. I know a few addiction counselors who would be better for reading it, too.

Well organized and easy to read, she covers a great deal of ground, from alcoholic behaviors, denial and unmanageability to finding help, self-discovery, relationships and co-dependance, and much more. The section on overcoming the possible roadblocks of past spiritual and religious beliefs is as direct and to the point as it is sensitive and enlightened. Not an easy feat considering that topic.

The three main sections of the book are:

  1. ALCOHOLISM – What it is (and isn’t).
  2. THE PROBLEM – Veronica nails the problem, including what she believes and I agree is “The World’s Best Kept Secret” concerning recovery. (Sorry, my lips are sealed. :))
  3. THE SOLUTION – An in-depth discussion from beginning the journey to eventually living your authentic self.

The book is sprinkled throughout with illustrative narratives from other recovered alcoholics and case studies from her counseling practice. It should prove an inspiration to anyone affected by alcoholism or other addiction. I wholeheartedly recommend it.

4 thoughts on “Review: Why You Drink and How To Stop: Journey To Freedom”

    1. We’re a group of volunteers and starting a new scheme in our community.
      Your site provided us with valuable info to work on.
      You’ve done an impressive job and our whole community will be grateful to you.

      Like

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Book Review “Between Drinks”

Full title: Between Drinks: Escape The Routine, Take Control, and Join The Clear Thinkers

In this amazing little book, author David Downie writes of his experience with setting down the drink for a predetermined time as “an experiment,” and discovering a richer, more meaningful life because of it.

I was skeptical about (what I thought was) his premise when I received the request to write a review and more so when I started reading the author’s drinking history, a history that includes both a blog and a book celebrating beer and the merits of the culture surrounding it.

The simple fact is David Downie has distilled the essence of the 12 Steps and packaged it for us here. I would recommend this book to anyone, with the “true-blue alcoholic” as a major exception, as the author himself points out.

He delivers pints of wisdom liberally sparkled with humor throughout. Included are vivid descriptions of his life as a drinker, as well as what his life has become after the experiment. Along way, he offers general actions anyone who wishes can try for their own experiment with life between drinks.

If this book had been available thirty-some years ago, it likely would have saved me and everyone else in my life a lot of heartache. Five stars and extra kudos for a book well done.

Book Cover Image

     

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    Book Review “Soul Recovery”

    Full title: Soul Recovery: 12 Keys to Healing Addiction . . . and 12 Steps for the Rest of Us–a Path to Wholeness, Serenity, and Success

    Ester Nicholson relates her personal story of recovery from addiction with brutal honesty and a clear message of hope. Her program of healing is solid, and could easily be life enhancing, if not life saving, for anyone who wishes to accept a New Thought style of spirituality.

    Since everything in the book that is “beyond the 12 steps” concerns that specific style of spirituality, there is little help “for the rest of us.” Still, the above strengths rate a three-star rating for an otherwise one-star book.

    Photo of Book Cover

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    Book Review: A Recovery Journey

    In three small volumes, John T. Marohn gives us a penetrating, starkly honest view into his personal inventory process. The details of his life are there to let us know what it was like, yet they remain low-key throughout the series. Unlike so many other recovery books today, he weaves the details of his past into the narrative of where he is today and how he got there. Most refreshing of all, there is not the slightest hint of the victim mentality that taints so much of the genre.

    Book I opens with the author at his bottom and voluntarily entering rehab. From there, we enter his journey of self-discovery, into his thought process as he worked through his fears, delusions, maladaptive behaviors, and conflicting beliefs, to name a few of the items covered. The chapter on surrender alone is worth the price of the book.

    Book II continues with excellent treatments on such topics as fear, identity, healing, and relationships. The second book also includes priceless insights into happiness, hope, and authenticity.

    In the third volume of the trilogy, the author waxes philosophical on topics ranging from “The Perils of Certainty” to “The Divinity Within” and more while maintaining his focus on what it all means to his recovery and growth.

    Throughout the three volumes, I found many of my own notions validated, some challenged, and much that I’ve yet to even consider. Anyone who is recovered or recovering, or is wondering what an honest and thorough personal inventory might entail, will be better for reading this series.

    A Short Animation With Deep Meaning

    A short animated story from storycorps.org. At first, I was left wondering, “What’s the point?” Maybe it was because I was up late last night (Christmas eve, you know) and wasn’t quite up to full speed. I understood on the second viewing, tho, and the message not only fits the season, but the core values behind this blog.

    As a sentence from the ‘About’ page at StoryCorps says: “We do this to remind one another of our shared humanity, strengthen and build the connections between people, teach the value of listening, and weave into the fabric of our culture the understanding that every life matters.”

    Please watch and share your thoughts with us!

     

    1. This is a terrific animated short that allows the viewer to have a simple visual for the audio account of a brief, sad and ultimately uplifting story of addiction. I thoroughly enjoyed it and am grateful that you shared it here.

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