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:, and my interview.


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.

Book Review: Undrunk

UNDRUNK:  A Skeptic’s Guide to AA, by A. J. Adams, © 2009

Undrunk: A Skeptic's Guide To AA

As a long time member of Alcoholics Anonymous, I found this book to be a moderately entertaining peek inside the complex organization that is AA.  It’s a good basic primer for folks who are wondering if AA might work for them, with the author explaining his personal experience with the 12 Steps (one year when the book was written,) including his misgivings and misconceptions going in and lessons learned.

The book suffers, however, from overlong explanations which became tedious very quickly.  I was also disappointed that the author didn’t cite his sources in those sections dealing with AA history.

I have mixed feelings about this book.  Anyone wishing to know what AA attendance is like would do better to go to a dozen or so meetings and get the experience first hand.  For those who think that would be too time consuming, following a dozen or so AA recovery blogs or forums for a month would give a more complete picture.  Still, for those with more money than time, this book would be a worthwhile read.  I give it 3 out of 5 stars.