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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    smack dab where Time begins

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    It was about 11 years ago that I decided it was a whole lot of work drinking every day and scurrying around keeping all my plates spinning at the same time. Seemingly I would awaken about 1:28 AM every night and spend the balance of the night tossing and turning wondering how I screwed myself up and if I tried to quit would I be able to do so. See in my head as long as I didn't try I couldn't fail and I wasn't totally screwed because I hadn't really tried and failed yet.

    Time for a change was way past due.

    There was an EAP (employee assistance plan) where I worked and I dialed the number, explained my situation and got hooked up for 6 or seven free sessions with a drug/alcohol therapist. First meeting, questions about my usage, yup I qualified with 3-4 1.75 liter bottles of rum a week plus some wine and or beer. More questions about my view of various things and he suggested that I might not be a good match for AA, which I heartedly agreed was true. So he said he would go with a different approach, something called CBT and something else called REBT.

    The balance of the 1st session was more talk and a pant load of home work (home work?!?) forms for me to complete before the next weeks meeting.

    Next session a bit of a review and the bastid zeroed in my contention 'I can't stand it'-referring to the idiots I had to work with. He was all, really, can't stand it? But you ARE standing it, it's jut you don't like it.

    To which I would agree and then say 'but I REALLY CAN'T STAND IT'. ..he, bastid that he was, would simply ask things like, has it killed you? Has your head exploded? You know mean questions like that, to which I would explain, no, but I can't stand it.

    This dance, with it's variations continued. Not a light bulb moment but finally I admitted I knew what
    he meant. In truth I had understood pretty much right off the bat what he was saying it was just that 'I can't stand it' was inscribed on the inside of my skull from years of delicate mis thinking. A slight touch of what would be called DIBs (dispute irrational belief) before session about over-more homework and the suggestion I check out a website called SMARTRecovery.

    Next meeting ABC, DIBs, life goals. ABC, too murky for my cognitive abilities but DIBs? I take to that like a duck to water. I have always enjoyed a good debate with others, now this was arguing against my own self-too cool! Suddenly I can see lots of strange, self defeating beliefs that weave their way into and around my thoughts and like jumping up and shouting at some bull sheet advertisement on television I am all over them.

    Long story short after the fifth weekly session the therapist and I agree to forgo further meetings as I have the basics down and to just bank the unused session, just in case. It's still in the bank.

    So, SMARTRecovery back in the old days, no where as large or complex as now. The forums are less busy but excellent for seeing situations and how they might be dealt with in a SMART manner. Far fewer meetings as well. I do the 'orientation to SMART' meeting run by ABCTJ about 6 weeks in a row, my head is clearing but I find repeated exposure to the same material is very helpful.

    I notice some names on the forums who appear to make sense and begin to follow them, Marky, Dan, DonS, Barbless,, Aknsue...I begin to relate to other new folks by their posts. I spend time in chat, lots of goofing around and a bit of recovery related stuff as well. I join the Barb and Helen show (a Saturday afternoon meeting run by Barbless and Helenwheels). Somewhere along the way I send a PM asking about becoming a volunteer of some sort. I figure it would be helpful to SMART and more importantly helpful for myself as well.

    An established meeting needs a new Host and I agree to try. With Ms Cody as a sidekick I run my first meeting. To me it is a train wreck of epic proportions. Lesson learned I'm not as SMART as I might believe. Newish mantra evolves from this self described disaster, you don't have to be perfect. It gets better. Later I Host the Orientation to SMART meetings which are great fun (to me at least) and as the saying goes, to teach is to learn twice. I get to help Ms Kalar with the Thursday morning fun fest meeting, which as the name might indicate, is great fun. When we move to London I continue but the meeting time for me is a much more civilized 11:00AM.

    Many, many people contributed to my growth and still do-too many to list for fear I might leave some out but my thanks go to each of them.. I'll finish this missive by saying there are great people still here today. Learn the Tools, they work but they don't do anything for you until you put them to use. Keep the three P's in mind. Patience, Practice and Perseverance.

    Change is possible. It happens every day. It is up to each of us to work to insure the changes that come are those that will help us to reach our long term goals.

    I'll do an update in another 11 years, stay SMART folks.
    Wherever you go, there you are

  2. #2


    Thanks for the post on your journey!

    I can really relate. Just yesterday I was having to dispute the old ways of thinking about people I work with. I CAN stand it! Heck, standing it is a good lesson in high frustration tolerance.

    “Men are disturbed not by the things that happen, but by their opinion of the things that happen." Epictetus

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2014


    What a wonderful post on your journey!
    Thank You

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2014


    Thanks for sharing your story. I have seen your name and now to know how you came here is an inspiration. So grateful to have found SMART.
    “There is a crack in everything. That's how the light gets in.” Leonard Cohen

  5. #5
    Sam29's Avatar
    Sam29 is offline Distance Training Team
    Former SMART Online Facilitator
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Beaverton, Oregon


    Nice, my friend. Funny how people can be so similar, eh

    Lo que sea !

  6. #6


    Really inspirational. Thanks for sharing your story.

    Hope12 "There isn't much in the world that a walk around the block won't solve" (author unknown).

  7. #7
    Gordon1's Avatar
    Gordon1 is online now SMART MB Co-Liaison
    SMART Online Moderator
    SMART Online Facilitator
    Former SMART Face to Face Facilitator
    Former SMART Online Meeting Liaison
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Melbourne, Australia


    Thankyou fenquat for sharing your very human journey - written in a way that I loved to read it.

    All the best for the next 11 and thankyou for all that you do,

    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!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2013


    Thank you for writing this. It is very inspirational to me as a newbie to hear about the journeys others have been through. Everyone's specific journey is different but there are underlying similarities. This is hard work. We need to do the work, no one else can do it for us. The future is brighter if we put the hard work in and keep our mind focused on where we want to go.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Sober Paradise


    A long way from rum-and-mouse drinks, eh? You've had one hel-uv-a ride. Thanks for hanging here with us.
    Luke: "I don't believe it."
    Yoda: "That is why you fail."

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2008


    Wow, 11 years? That's amazing. I always appreciate your posts here.

    Mel =)
    I'm not telling you it is going to be easy, I'm telling you it's going to be worth it.

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