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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    New England

    Default To surrender is to win.

    The first of January marked nine months of sobriety for me, and I just know I will never go back. I finally tried a technique to stay sober that had never occurred to me before: anything but my way.

    At the beginning of April 2021, I checked into a detox and rehab. This was an entirely new experience for me, but I had resolved to get sober at any cost, so I threw myself into it with both feet. In less than a month, I moved into a halfway house in a far-away town where I didn't know anyone. In my six months at the house, I attended hundreds of AA and other meetings, was given a vast assortment of tools and support, and began to build a sober network of some really incredible people. I got a "get well job" at a local restaurant. My boss is a Tibetan Buddhist, and we took a liking to one another from the moment we met. Though he is not in the program, the support and guidance from him and my family have been immensely valuable to me on my journey.

    At my graduation from the program, I had the honor of surprising my brother with his 10-year AA medallion in front of my boss and many sober friends who attended to show their support. I was accepted into a sober house for men in the same town, where I am surrounded by some great guys who come from all walks of life but share a deep commitment to a sober lifestyle. For example, last week a few of us had an impromptu discussion about toxic masculinity while I was making dinner.

    At a meeting the other night, I received a wonderful gift. A newly sober young man approached me and told me he remembered seeing me speak at his rehab hospital a few weeks prior. It was my first time speaking at a commitment. He said, "your words gave me the courage to stick with it." He is now almost four months sober and driving other young men to meetings every night of the week. I don't remember what exactly I said -- I just opened my mouth and spoke my truth about my journey, the tools I use, and the good things that result -- but just thinking of his words brings tears of joy to my eyes.

    I have accepted and used every tool given to me by SMART Recovery, Refuge Recovery (a Buddhist program that includes meditation, reading, and sharing), AA, and IOP therapy, and most mornings I go for walks by the sea with my boss, who has become a good friend. Regardless of the weather, it's always a good day to be alive, healthy and grateful. The biggest tool I use is probably the ability to recognize and develop more tools. Every night, and often many times during the day, I meditate and take an assessment of situations, humbly give myself credit when due, and contemplate how I can handle things better going forward.

    There is much wisdom around me, if I pay attention and remain receptive. A new friend with 57 years of sobriety suggested that I begin every day by admitting to myself that I am powerless over alcohol, and everything will be a little easier -- such a simple concept, yet so very helpful. Since I can't win against the heavyweight champ, I simply refuse to step in the ring. Another new friend with decades of sobriety said she "used to show up for every fight I was invited to," and that she doesn't have to have an opinion about things or engage in situations that can only end badly. Such a gem!

    I find that I'm becoming more and more able to live peacefully in the moment, to truly listen to others and myself, to place the needs of others ahead of my own, to step back and pause when my will tries to take the wheel. I have learned that my thoughts don't define me, because they're just thoughts unless I nurture them, and I am seeing the old feelings of self-loathing slowly slip away, to be replaced by this warm glow full of self-acceptance and self-forgiveness, so long as I surrender my will and always strive to do the next right thing. Compassion for self enables further compassion for others.

    The debt of gratitude I owe to SMART Recovery and other programs, my brother, my boss, old friends and new friends, feels like one I will never be able to repay. But I will repay it, through both direct amends and living amends, for the rest of my life. My late father used to say that the greatest joys in life come from helping others, and I appreciate the wisdom of those words more each and every day.

    It took me almost 10 years of trying to quit drinking to bring me to where I am today, and I wouldn't trade this life for anything. If there is anything I can do, within my means, to help another addict escape from the hell of addiction, please do not hesitate to reach out.

    Wishing you peace, serenity, and all the best,

    “It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end."

  2. #2
    C_C's Avatar
    C_C is offline SMART Online Meeting Helper
    SMART Online Message Board Volunteer
    Join Date
    Jan 2021


    Well done Just_Jim, congratulations on all your work to reach a milestone in your efforts to stay sober.
    I remember from attending SROL meetings, the facilitators always say pick the ways from as many different programs available in order to change your behavior and attain the goals one has set to achieve.

    The choice is always ours to make. That is “The Power of Choice!”
    It empowers us to stay away from our addictive behaviors.

    I believe everyone dictates his/her own recovery journey by the sum of all the choices made hence making it unique to every individual.
    ”Keep on keepin on”
    I used to have an addictive behavior,
    but I choose not to act that way anymore”
    Sobriety gave me Whatever Alcohol promised!

  3. #3
    Gordon1's Avatar
    Gordon1 is offline SMART Message Board Liaison
    SMART Online Moderator
    SMART Online Facilitator
    Former SMART Face to Face Facilitator
    Former SMART Online Meeting Liaison
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Melbourne, Australia


    Congratulations Jim and well done working out what works for you!

    Great efforts
    What got me sober was TRYING to get sober. Often when I lapsed, picked up, drank, I FELT thoroughly beaten. I thought at that time "there is no hope for me" Yet, when I had recovered from that thought just a little, I thought "I'll have another GO!" It was a few little sparks, rather than a flame, that got me here!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Upstate NY


    Congratulations, Jim! Sounds like you have put together your ultimate program. I found that when I made it my primary purpose to remain sober there was no stopping me. Awesome work, keep going!

  5. #5


    Congratulations, Jim!
    I'm ver glad you are here with us and things are working so weel for you.

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